Washi 5 Exhibit

Published on: May 13, 2009

Featuring five artists from five countries, LSC-Kingwood's newest art exhibit explores the traditional method of hand making Japanese paper.

Known for its beauty, strength and versatility, Washi literally means Japan or Japanese (Wa) paper (shi).  This ancient art form has been practiced for over 1,300 years.  Washi is commonly produced using the bark fibers from the kozo, gampi and mitsumata shrubs, but can also be made with bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat. 

The exhibit will be made up of works by each artist that are composed of actual Washi or inspired by concepts and methods used in its making.

"This exhibit will have a variety of different forms and concepts that all revolve around the theme of paper," says Mari Omori, LSC-Kingwood art professor and one of the featured artists in the exhibit.

Omori had the opportunity to study with all of the artists while serving as artist in residency in Mino, Japan last fall during her sabbatical.  She spent three months in Mino, where she shared warehouse space with the other artists.  They spent much time talking, lunching and working together.  "None of our works are overlapping, but we all use paper, so we had common ground," she says.

A total immersion into the community is how Omori describes the experience.  The artists had hands on experience making Washi paper, talking with and studying Washi artists and even working with school children in the community. 

Japanese artist Yoshiro Igarashi, who will give two artists talks on June 4, will travel to Kingwood to collaborate with students in Omori's Summer I drawing class.  Together they will create a piece which will become part of the show.

A video installation featuring ideas relating to paper, paper making and sculpting is what Mikkel Wettre from Norway presents. He says of this show, "I go back and forth between making drawings and making sculptures and recently my folded paper work has been a way of giving my ornamental drawings a physical presence.  The work I am showing in Texas is a reflection on this process."

Featuring a sense for the environment, Emma Herman-Smith from Scotland will hang rolls of hand painted wallpaper depicting wildflowers and fruit blossoms native to Texas.  While paper bees will emerge from the paper and increase in number as they rise. 

"My work makes comment on our attitude to and relationship with our local and global environment.  It suggests that our inability to look after the small stuff, the flowers and the bees, is indicative of how we regard our relative importance to the other lives that make up our world."

Jakraphun Thanateeranon, whose nickname is New, hails from Thailand.  His work will feature lots of gold and bright colors.

Washi 5 will run Tuesday, May 19 through Tuesday, June 30.  Two artists' talks will be featured on Thursday, June 4 from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. and then in the evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  Sushi will be served at the evening reception, courtesy of Glen Gondo at Tokyo Gardens.  The LSC-Kingwood Art Gallery is located in the Student Center/Fine Arts Building (SFA).  Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.

Register today for Summer Term I (June 1-July 7), Summer Term II (July 9-Aug. 13) and Fall (Aug. 24-Dec. 13) credit classes. Students can register in one of three ways: phone, online or on campus.  Classes are offered days, evenings, or weekends in traditional, Internet, video, TV and independent study formats. Current students can register by telephone at 281-519-6625. Former and current students can register online at Kingwood.LoneStar.edu/registration.

For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600.