Found in Translation: Interpreting Elements of Japanese Design PDF  | Print |  E-mail
curated by Arlene Gehring Exhibition at the Japan Foundation in Toronto Ontario October 13, 2006 – January 19, 2007

The integrity of the traditional Japanese design aesthetic, techniques and resources, survives permutation and translation with great strength and identity. The clear and compelling components of visual design invite practice.  Just as the Japanese artists and craftsmen who are the "natural" heirs of this tradition have practiced through generations, so are craftspeople and artists in other countries and other settings compelled to practice as well.  But coming from different cultural contexts, they speak the traditional vocabulary with different accents.  

This is a show of work of the second generation.  It is not the artists who are nisei; they are all western.  Rather, it is the elements of design which have arrived in a new country and are being interpreted in a new context by another generation.  Here, four artists working with fibre - paper and textiles - have produced work which is uniquely their own.  Some of the work follows tradition quite closely, other gives a looser rendition. Yet, the Japanese influence is clearly identifiable in every piece. 

The physical elements of design and the techniques for achieving them are given depth by the accompaniment of more abstract elements and inspirations.  Philosophy and religion, landscape and nature, the aesthetic that combines unpredictability and control, a particular resonance with the symbolic, and an appreciation of the beauty in simple materials all contribute to the creative understanding of these artists.

Judith Fieder



Weaving much of her own cloth, Judith Fielder then dyes it using shibori techniques.  The cloth itself reflects nature in its movement, strength and fragility which respond physically in the dyeing process.  Texture and pattern emerge in two and three dimensions, with luminescent shading of blue and white.

Judith's work is available through Prime Gallery

 jF   jf   jf4

Goosebumps, pebbles, Leaf Veins 

- handwoven wool, shibori dyed, textured by Judith Fielder 


For Lorraine Pritchard the geometry and responsiveness of the Japanese paper washi is central to her work.  A Zen aesthetic informs the layering, folding, and painting, to recombine and transform paper and ink.  Colour, texture, and pattern respond in subtle interplay.



Dream of Fields - Installation of pillows made of washi/painted acrylic/ink


Marta Dal Farra brings a sumi-e approach to her work in the contemplation and movement in its creation.  Inspired by the environment and experience of living in Japan , she uses brushwork and stitching on collected papers – newspaper, bags, comics – and cloth.  The mixed media combine in abstract, evocative imagery



What Hurts More - envelopes, ink, paint, silk fabric
Musashino various papers, ink - scroll mounted

Combining shibori and sashiko, Nieves Carrasco works to create a dialogue between the more spontaneous dyeing and the more controlled stitching. Consisting of smaller modules, each piece contrasts the elements of freedom and containment.  The stitched thread brings line, shapes space, and plays colour over the background of the dyed pattern
Blaze ( above and detail) - shibori dyeing on flannel with stitching
see more of Nieves Carrasco work on her web site     http://www.nievescarrasco.com/home.html

Found in Translation ran from October 13, 2006 until January 17 2007 at the Japan Foundation

the above material is taken from the exhibition pamphlet and has been reproduced her with 

permissions from the Curator Arlene Gehring

< Prev   Next >