Tayloe Piggott Gallery is pleased to present Innovations in Paper, a group exhibition featuring artists Kyoko Ibe, Jacob Hashimoto, and Rakuko Naito. Each of these artists taps into a deep well of tradition to produce something monumentally new, refreshingly contemporary, and perhaps, something of a mind-bender.
Kyoko Ibe reveres old paper not only as an almost sacred raw material but also as an embodiment of the traditional Japanese sense of oneness with nature, along with the down-to-earth thrifty virtues of earlier times, when paper was a valued material, rarely discarded and often reused. Now that sustainability is a universal aspiration, Ibe’s concept of her practice as an art of rebirth and renewal has come into its own, giving fresh significance to the old idea of kankonshi (“paper with its soul brought back to life”) that “expresses and revives our shared human skill and compassion.” Ibe builds paper silkscreens from antique fibers, just like old timber, grows ever more beautiful with the passage of time. Ink that was brushed onto the original documents makes an important contribution, surviving the dyeing and pulping processes to infuse Ibe’s compositions with varying shades of gray that contribute to a unique aesthetic.
Colorado-born artist Jacob Hashimoto’s signature “kite” works are created using traditional Japanese kite-making techniques and innumerable hand-painted and collaged rice paper and bamboo kites, which he masterfully arranges to create delicate illusions of movement, space and light. Drawing on his Japanese heritage, Hashimoto creates layered compositions referencing video games, virtual environments and cosmology, while also remaining deeply rooted in art historical traditions, notably landscape-based abstraction, modernism and handcraft. The artist created these three new prints—yes, they are multiples—at downtown Los Angeles’s famed Mixografía Studio, which is known for the bas-relief printing process that creates three-dimensional paper works. Hashimoto’s prints depict what appear to be tiny paper kites, dangling with string loose and knotted, tacked to a faded, splintering wood backdrop. The kites look so real as if they might blow off the paper, but in fact are made from embossed paper sculpted during the printing process. Hashimoto thus makes a clever play on the trompe l’œil tradition and venerates the printmaking studio’s unique process and its history.
With a natural affinity for order and structure, Rakuko Naito joins a circle of artists such as Mel Bochner, Eve Hesse and Sol LeWitt. Naito’s repetition of actions, decisions, and manipulated forms define her meditative studio practice. Naito has said, “I feel natural forms and textures have a reality that can not be competed by trying to paint or drawn by hand. I try to experiment and manipulate materials to create my own world.” As a result of her methodology, Naito has found a unique classification for her ideas somewhere between our notion of “drawing” and “sculpture.” Born in Tokyo, Naito studied at the Tokyo National University of Art. After graduation, in 1958, she moved to New York, where she has lived and worked ever since. Naito’s first solo exhibition was at the World House Gallery in New York in 1965. Featured thoughout the United States, Europe and Japan, Naito’s work is represented in numerous galleries and public collections, including the Kemper Art Collection (Chicago), the Larry Aldrich Museum (Ridgefield, CT), the Roland Gibson Art Foundation (SUNY Potsdam) and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an artist in residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in 2003. Naito held a solo exhibition at the Karuizawa New Art Museum (Karuizawa, Japan) in 2016.