Friday, March 25, 2016

Exploring Matfield Green and the Surrounding Area マットフィールドグリーンと周辺の土地巡り

Life is like a journey and I am a traveler and a sojourner on the earth.  I consider my artistic life as a journey as well.  Not just showing my work at shows, but it is meaningful for me to explore the places where my art takes.  Since I will have an opportunity to have a show in Matfield Green, KS from April through the end of May, I have been exploring this little city in the Flint Hills and its surrounding area.


 Spring in Matfield Green, KS

 Old school with goats

 Trains in Matfield Green.  Trains make me feel at home.

 Pear trees are in full bloom.

 Old church in Bazaar, KS, about 6 miles north of Matfield Green

 Old school in Bazaar

 Scenic byway between Matfield Green and Cottonwood Falls on Highway 177

  Found an old one room school house near Florence, Marion, Co.

   This school had only two students when it was closed 70 years ago.  

Flint Hills Market & Bakery in Florence

 On a big table, saw some cards with portraits of historical people in KS.

This lady kindly added threads to my thread piece.

Apparently, I like old buildings.  Florence, KS

I've been living in Kansas for 20 years, but I had not explored the rural Kansas this much before.  Many places are losing population.  I saw many abandoned houses. This area is so beautiful and could become like a big tourist place if they try to promote it, but this serenity and quietness is priceless.


Shirotaeno - Prairie Journey
Bank Art Space
Reed St, Kansas Scenic Byway 177, Matfield Green KS
Date: April 9 - June 5, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Upcoming Show in Matfield Green, KS (3)

     Since the date of the show is approaching, my friend and I had a day trip to Matfield Green to shoot photos of my installation "A Thread X (Meets) A Thread" outdoors and to get inspiration out of it.

     It was a nice sunny day, but so windy that it was not easy to install the piece.  I was blown by the wind, got tangled in the threads, and fell from the ladder.  I barely made it to take some photos and video.

     The scene reminded me of a word "Shirotaeno".  Shirotaeno is the word used for classical Japanese poetry in association with words such as "white cloth", "white sleeve", or "white cloud".  There is a famous waka (poem) by Jito Tenno (Jito Empress) using this word.



   Jito Tenno

   Haru sugite
   Natsu kinikerashi
   Shirotae no
   Koromo hosucho
   Ama no Kaguyama

   Empress Jito

   The spring has passed
   And the summer comes again;
   For the silk-white robes,
   So they say, are spread to dry
   On the Mount of Heaven's Perfume."

      "Mount of Heaven's Perfume" is a hill called Amano Kaguyama in Nara, the
old capital of Japan.  The old name of Nara is Yamato.  It is considered to be the origin place of the Yamato people, the native ethnic group of the people of Japan.

      Asukamura, a village where Amano Kaguyama can be seen is a specially preserved historic site.  It looks like an untouched old Japanese village. This may be one of the reasons why I remembered this poem in this site at Matfield Green which  is a hilly and untouched place in Kansas.


Shirotaeno - Prairie Journey
Bank Art Space
Reed St, Kansas Scenic Byway 177, Matfield Green KS
Date: April 9 - May 29, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Upcoming Show in Matfield Green, KS (2)

     Inside the Bank Art Space, on one of the walls as a permanent display, are portrait photos of Matfield Green residents shot by a photographer Terry Evans from 1993 to 1994.  These are black and white portraits and there are 63 pictures in a grid.  I am going to install my installation piece "A Thread X A Thread" right in front of these portraits.

 63 pictures of Matfield Green residents in 1993 - 1994 by Terry Evans

     Because of this setting, I have been checking the works by Terry Evans lately to get more inspiration.  Terry Evans is a well known photographer from Kansas City who has been shooting landscape and people of the prairies.  She did an exhibition called "Matfield Green Stories" at Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, KS five years ago, which I was able to see and loved very much.  At that time, I had no idea that I was going to do a show in Matfield Green.  She searches for her relationship with people and places through her works, which is pretty much the same idea as my installation piece.  The setting for my installation will let me integrate my piece with her work physically and thematically, which I am excited about.

The north of Matfield Green, Chase County, Kansas, photo by Terry Evans from her book "Heartland"

Shirotaeno - Prairie Journey
Bank Art Space
Reed St, Kansas Scenic Byway 177, Matfield Green KS
Date: April 9 - June 5, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

Upcoming Show in Matfield Green, KS (1)

     My next show is at the Bank Art Space in Matfield Green, Chase County, KS from April through June.  I am going to write about this show and Matfield Green in the next several blogs.  Matfield Green is located about one hour from Wichita, where I live.  Since Ton and Ans, the directors of the gallery, invited me to do a show there, I visited this place several times.  These are the photos from last winter.

On the way to Matfield Green from I-35 near Cassody

 Matfield Green is almost there.

 One of the houses in Matfield Green

     Matfield Green used to have a population of more than 300 residents, but now it is down to around 50 people.  However, it is a uniquely artistic city with two art galleries, the Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs and the Bank Art Space, and there are some residents who are artists and writers.  A collaboration with WSU to make a prairie sculpture path in Matfield Green has been taking place, too.

 The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs

The Bank Art Space

     I am excited to be invited to do a show in the middle of the Flint Hills, the vast untouched prairie that I deeply adore. I am from Japan.  I never expected to live in Kansas before.  I often wonder why I am here and the purpose of being here.  I have a feeling that exhibiting my work in the middle of the Flint Hills will let me explore this place and search my relationship with the place and the people of Kansas.

Shirotaeno - Prairie Journey
Bank Art Space
Reed St, Kansas Scenic Byway 177, Matfield Green KS
Date: April 9 - June 5, 2016