Tamiko Kawata

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Innumerable Safety Pins Link into Tamiko Kawata’s Sculptures that Juxtapose Chaos with Quietude

October 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Tamiko Kawata, courtesy of the artist and courtesy of Garvey | Simon Gallery, New York, shared with permission

The humble safety pin finds itself at the center of Tamiko Kawata’s meditative practice as its assembled into metallic wall hangings and sculptures that bulge and protrude from their bases. Accentuating the interplay of light and shadow, the Japan-born New York-based artist, who is almost 90 years old and still working, capitalizes on the simplicity of the thin wire and clasps. She groups and links the fasteners into sprawling forms or textures pieces that evoke tapestries woven with different colored threads.

Exploring the tension between lively disarray and a more meditative quality, Kawata prefers to begin with unassuming objects. She says in a statement:

Discarded materials are important to me because of environmental issues and also as a reflection of my current life. My choice of materials and interpretation are influenced by the differences that I experience between life in America and in Japan, where I grew up. I often use repetition and aim to create energy and chaos, within quiet stillness.

Kawata is one-half of Disquiet, an exhibition running from October 29, 2022, to January 8, 2023, at Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson, New York. Find more of her works at Garvey | Simon, where she’s represented.