From hunks of clay, artist En Iwamura (previously) sculpts minimal forms with wildly varied facial expressions that range from shock and surprise to moody contemplation. Etched across the surface of each character are neat pathways of parallel lines, which evoke the clean, sweeping patterns in zen gardens, that are a physical manifestation of the Japanese concept of Ma. The philosophy identifies “the space between the edges, between the beginning and the end, the space and time in which we experience life. Ma is filled with nothing but energy and feeling.”
Although his aesthetic and process remain relatively consistent—Iwarmura is generous about sharing works-in-progress and studio shots on his Instagram—his approach to spatial questions continues to evolve. “My work size has physically got bigger,” he tells Colossal. “That can have (a) different relationship with Ma, either micro (or) macro.”
Iwamura is currently living in Shiga near his hometown of Kyoto, and if you’re in New York, you can see his oversized faces in January at Ross + Kramer Gallery.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You'll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!