Works are available to view on Artsy : Click to view
Opened by Tetsuya Wakuda, celebrated restaurateur, art collector and close friend of the artist, the first ‘Inside Looking Out’ exhibition is a solo show of the works of Shumei Kobayashi. A practising Buddhist Shugendō shaman, Shumei is a master of Japan’s traditional dyeing arts tsutsugaki and yūzen. Taught by a Living National Treasure artist who was an associate of the famous Yanagi Sōetsu (1889-1961), Shumei has taken these traditional arts into the realm of the contemporary. His designs speak to a profound understanding of the essence of things and thereby find common ground with modern design and abstraction.
The interweaving threads that are characteristic of Shumei’s foundation canvases are metaphors for the serendipitous life threads that see the artist creating significant networks in Australia. From his first government-sponsored exhibition at the Japan Foundation in Sydney in 1996, these networks, many introduced and nurtured by Lesley Kehoe Galleries and its clients, have successfully created a dynamic that sees Shumei now as the recipient of a special artist’s visa for permanent residency in Australia.
This new body of work focuses on ropes and waterfalls, both of significance to the artist:
The idea of water, waterfalls, as sacred is one that arises from the understanding of water as a manifestation of Nature – the larger its scale, the greater our feeling of otherworldly grandeur. From ancient times, humans have acknowledged water’s scarcity and significance. It is both revered and feared – floods for example: water bursting forth as a manifestation of the unapproachable divine. On occasion, waterfalls have even been deified.
These works express 40 years of my personal experiences and feelings toward grand waterfalls, particularly the Nachi falls (in Wakayama province, one of the best-known falls in Japan).
Rope (Rope, cord, climbing rope) 縄・綱・ザイル
For towing, pulling and support, ‘tsuna’ is good; for binding and tying ‘nawa’ is good. For use in weaving, we have ‘ito’ and ‘himo’. ‘Nawa’ and ‘rope’ signify something fairly thick. In the past, the plant ‘tsuru’ and long thin grasses of various kinds were used, also ‘wara’ and raw silk thread. In the 18th century, metal was intertwined to create ‘wire rope’; in more modern times, hemp, Chinese palm, cotton were used, and in the 20th century nylon and other chemical and carbon fibres came into practice. Through use, rope changes state and outward expression… it is like we sentient beings – as we go through the trials and experiences of life, some of us are hurt, while others, licking their wounds, march on, persevering in step with their destiny… I was projecting these thoughts onto rope’s expressions as I worked on these pieces.
Shumei’s exhibition continues until September 2
Tuesday- Friday 11 am – 5.00 pm
Other times by appointment – email@example.com
Waterfall – Homespun Cotton
Mr Tetsuya Wakuda