forests. Ah, the forests. Working alone the ancient artists of China
and Japan sought out the rugged rocks, the rushing streams, and twisted
trees. Deep in the forest, dwarfed by high cliffs and mist-covered
peaks, human beings, as seen in the paintings, became "little
people" going on with their work at the edges of the wilderness.
In the paintings, these figures become hardly discernable compared
to the grandeur of nature.
The Asian forests have always been the place of unseen forces, ghosts
and spirits. There live the tree deities, which the Hindus called
the apsaras. There, too, in Japanese groves stood decorated Shinto
shrines and in China hidden pagodas. For the Asian artists no theme
was as challenging and meaningful as their forests landscapes. The
rustling bamboo leaves. The ghost-white mists lying in many strata,
which constantly revealed and concealed the mystic landscapes.
Most of us today mistakenly believe that the forest landscapes paintings
are defunct, forgotten. But that is not so. Thanks to Keiko Miyamori
the tradition is flourishing and alive. She has inherited 3500 years
of Asian art and put it to good use.
The great stump comes to mind. Those who walked under the rotunda
in the hall looked up in an astonishment as they saw a thousand roots
pointing down at them. They look so alive. So mythic. One could immediately
feel their spirit. As most viewers looked upward they knew full well
that they stood in a magical place. And, of course, the serene rotunda,
so comfortable with its own existence, greatly magnified the barbaric
wildness of the threatening roots. But, the juxtaposition of the calm,
white walls of the rotunda and the uncanny black textures of the twisting
roots made a resolution difficult. What was going on? Something ineffable
slipped beyond our comprehension.
In Keiko Miyamori's work we see the tradition of the ancient Asian
artists. For centuries they placed twisted pieces of wood and also
strangely shaped rocks on their tables. Though they lived in simple,
impeccable, bare rooms, they wanted to have something wild, untamable,
enigmatic next to them. Keiko Miyamori is an inheritor of a great
legacy. She will carry the great tradition forward into the next millennium.
Keiko Miyamori's solitary ventures into the Pennsylvania woods has
impressed many. To really appreciate the trees she does frottages,
a form of rubbing, with washi paper. Among the trees she burns wood
in smoky pits to produce her own special charcoal. Her spirit, her
ability as a craftsperson comes forth. Her sensitive attention to
details, and desire to follow all the processes come forth to the
She, more than anyone I can think of, is a person of the forest.