MATA SEN [1000 again]
Opens Saturday November 5, from 6-8pm
Walter Maciel Gallery
Galleries 1 and 2
Walter Maciel Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition entitled MATA SEN-translated from Japanese as1,000 Again-by Oakland based artist Lisa Solomon. The work is a continuation of Solomon’s exploration of the lucky number 1,000 and was initially introduced in her last exhibition in 2014. The exhibition marks Solomon’s third solo show with our gallery.
In Japan, Solomon’s mother’s native country, philosophical and spiritual masters have used the number 1,000 as a sum for physical and mental endurance by setting goals that are rewarded with luck or a wish. Solomon unravels the ancient superstitions by employing various mark makings that explore Sen (1,000) using this specific number in every piece. She interprets notions of luck by combining facts and data as well as historical and cultural practices with her personal lexicon of visual vocabulary.
Two large installations are included in the context of smaller individual works. A focal point in the gallery is the presentation of 1,000 French knots made from 2,200 feet of rope that Solomon hand dyed using a rich red, a traditional Japanese color noted on their flag and fading into a pale pink from one end to the other. Taken from giant spools ordered from China, the sections were cut into equal two foot sections and each knot was individually tied into a four by four inch knot as a meditative exercise. The result is a color coordinated grid with 20 rows containing 50 knots each. Conceptually, the knots reference components of Senninbari: stitched belts that 1,000 women would collectively make for their husbands going off to war in WWII with each woman adding one French knot stitch per belt as a gesture of good luck and safe keeping. The belts protect the stomach and gut which is a significant body part in Japanese culture since it holds one’s power and vitality. The Senninbari were meant to be talismans to protect the wearer and Solomon’s enlarged display mimics this sentiment with the oversized knots looming in front of the viewer with a domineering presence.
Juxtaposed within the space is a second installation that includes 1,000 Buddha hands loosely referencing Senju Kannon, the 1,000 armed Buddha. The hands are cut out of different golden papers and placed on 6 panels of mulberry paper, traditionally used for Shoji Screens. The paper takes on similar characteristics to cloth and is left long like a traditional kimono to roll onto the floor. The hands are loosely organized into traditional Japanese cloud patterns similar to the manufactured designs found on golden screens. In addition, a series of chromatic (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, pink) prints containing 1,000 Buddha hands were made during a summer residency at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. The hands are loosely sketched and laid out in a pattern paying homage to Senju Kannon, hands that are in the mudras of blessing, protection and teaching. Placed in concentric circles the hands begin to form a larger circle with the very center of each containing series of French knots with threads that dangle down. Other prints include a series of 1,000 origami cranes, known as Senbazuru in recognition of the story of Sadako Saski and her quest to make 1,000 cranes after the bombing of Hiroshima. One set exists as two prints that have 500 cranes each, the set is chromatic with an expanding concentric circles layout, strung together so that thread ties the bottoms together.