has inspired me to learn more about her life & work.
Born in 1926, to Japanese immigrant farmers in California, Asawa's first introduction to art was in the internment camps during WWII, where she is pictured below. Of this experience she says:
"I hold no hostilities for what happened; I blame no one. Sometimes good comes through adversity. I would not be who I am today had it not been for the Internment, and I like who I am."
From there she went on to study art at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, studying with the likes of Josef Albers, Merce Cunningham, & Buckminster Fuller. It was here that she, also, met her future husband, architecture & design student, Albert Lanier. Together they would have six children, some of whom are photographed below, by the renowned photographer Imogen Cunningham, a personal friend to the family.
Asawa learned to make wire mesh baskets on a trip to Mexico in 1948, using this technique she began to create the enormous hanging sculptures she is known for today. Her work is diverse & prolific, however, & some of her other sculptures are of tumbleweed & tree motifs.
The shadows that these pieces cast, are often as beautiful as the works themselves.
One thing that always interests me, is seeing photos of the homes of artists. I especially loved seeing these early photos of Asawa's living room, filled with children busy at work, on some art project perhaps, & all of her wonderful sculptural shapes hanging from the rafters.
Not only is Asawa a formidable artists, but she has also been an important advocate for art education, co-fonding schools & art & cultural workshops & festivals in the San Francisco area, which have become models for other communities in the US.
There is certainly much to admire about Ruth Asawa, both as an artist & as a human being.
Where has this week gone? It was just last weekend that I visited Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art & yet it is only today, Thursday afternoon, that I am getting around to posting anything about it.
These are photos I took of the large installation in the lobby & atrium of the museum by the artist Swoon, which consisted in part, of hundreds of intricately cut paper images of endangered species.
Hung in streams suspended from ceiling to floor the cut outs cast shadows on the walls behind.
I found that for me the most interesting way to view the work was in the reflection it cast on the opposite window.
Here in a closer image, the full effect of the reflection can be seen on the buildings beyond.
I also enjoyed Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves which is an impressive, nine-screen video installation that interweaves three stories linking China’s ancient past and the present, & the wonderful sculptures of Ruth Asawa. But more about that later.
For now, I wish each of you a good remainder of the week, with hopes of a happy coming weekend.
Saturday was a glorious day. The temperature was in the high 50's. It was sunny & warm, with the mildest of winds. One simply cannot pass up a day like that in January, here in New England. I certainly did not want to. I took my camera & headed over to Nut Island to take a walk.
Although, not actually an island, Nut Island is surrounded by water & spectacular views. Even with these views, often as not, my attention was caught by the odd detail.
Like this stairway to nowhere for example,
or this old house with broken window pains, looking mournfully out to sea.
The afternoon light was stunning & I had to pinch myself, that this really was a day in January.
I fell in love with this old red barn.
As well as, I did the sturdy but time worn garage, handcrafted from beach stones, collected just steps away.
These old buildings were all the more beautiful with the sweeping water views behind them.
Further along, I came upon someones odd collection of lawn furniture, poised to take in the Boston skyline, in the distance.
The afternoon light was fading & evening approaching. It was time to head home, after a beautiful Saturday walk.
Having recently relocated to Charleston SC, it seems that I am now all over the map. I have left my home & studio in Boston for warmer climates but will continue to visit often. Summers are always spent in a tiny village in the southwest of France. So I am indeed between here & there. I am happy to have you follow along.