Emptiness The Sky

Knock on the sky and listen to the sound. ~Zen Saying

A collection of new work titled ‘Kisetsu’ (Seasons) from Japanese/Russian/American metalsmith Miya Ando, will be on view in a solo exhibition in New York 16 October – 15 November, 2014, at Sundaram Tagore Gallery. A space devoted to examining the exchange of ideas between Western and non-Western cultures, encouraging spiritual, social and aesthetic dialogues.


Miya AndoKu (Emptiness/The Sky) Faint Pink, 48 x 48 in, Pigment & Lacquer on Aluminum, 2014, Courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery © Miya Ando.

 Ando, a descendant of Bizen sword makers, was raised among Buddhist priests in a temple in Okayama, Japan. Combining traditional techniques of her ancestry with modern industrial technology, she skillfully transforms sheets of metal into ephemeral, abstract paintings infused with color and spirit. The foundation of Miya Ando’s practice is the transformation of surfaces -a luminous, artful alchemy. She applies heat, sandpaper, grinders, acids, patinas and dyes to metal canvases, altering the material’s chemical properties to produce refined, light-reflective gradations of color and texture. Ando’s goal is to create a relationship between her industrial materials and the natural world. “I’m interested in elemental and material transformations, so I look to materials that can show a duality. Hard metal becomes ethereal and reflects light differently throughout the day, or becomes something that captures changing light, as in the sky,” she says. “The paintings are about finding harmony and balance.”


Miya AndoSabi (Rust) 48 x 48 in, Patina & Pigment on Steel, 2013, Courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery © Miya Ando.

For her pieces, Ando uses subtle gradations of form and color that capture moments in time -to explore impermanence. For example hundreds of cascading Bodhi leaves change from green to yellow to orange and finally brown, alluding to ‘momiji-gari,’ the Japanese tradition of traveling to scenic areas to view Autumn leaves. Although it’s considered a secular event, there’s a spiritual element, as viewers are reminded that all things are transitory and it’s these transformations, cyclical and otherwise, that mark time. “I love the idea that these paintings are forever -that they will continue to absorb and emit light for eternity” she says. Using her signature visual vocabulary, the resulting works subtly evoke transcendent, minimalist landscapes, offering a quiet space for contemplation.


Miya Ando has a BA in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and attended Yale University to study Buddhist iconography and imagery. She apprenticed with the master metalsmith Hattori Studio in Japan, followed by a residency at Northern California’s Public Art Academy in 2009. She is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2012, and her work has been included in recent shows at the Guggenheim Museum and the Queens Museum, New York. Ando has produced numerous public commissions, most notably a thirty-foot-tall commemorative sculpture in London built from World Trade Center steel to mark the anniversary of 9/11. She lives & works in New York.

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