|| From the Garden: Stage IV is a body of
new works on paper by artist Aiko
Suzuki. The seven pieces that comprise the series present a fragmented
view of the natural world: nature turned sumptuously topsy-turvy.
surface of each work is richly textured and intricately layered
fractured shapes and shades of a late summer forest.
These works possess a tantalizing tactility;
they capture the glint of a
forest's gems as sunlight pierces through the leaves.
They offer a
kaleidoscopic glimpse of a strewn forest floor, or a skyward
canopied trees and feathered branches. They embody tensions –
aesthetic, philosophical, spiritual – within a natural
world conveyed through
expressionistic painterly abandon, collage, and the deliberate
of Japanese brush painting.
Each work is a study of a particular
plant that grows in the artist's
garden: fiddlehead ferns, dogwood leaves, bleeding hearts, coral
bamboo. Suzuki began the process of creating these works by having
her daughter, Chiyoko Szlavnics, photograph her garden in
late summer 2005. The photographs inspired a densely
textured surface worked through six to seven layers of metallic
paint. The surface was in turn overlaid with washi papercuts
pencil sketches of selected photographs. This process was laborious
responsive to the natural elements that first inspired the works.
Suzuki then truncated
each image, dividing it into four, five or even ten
panels. She proceeded to displace each panel to subvert the ìnaturalî order
of the original depiction. The result is kaleidoscopic and
seductive, but the works also make viewers self-aware in the
looking: the sequential flow from panel to panel is interrupted
space between them and by the slightly mismatched images on them.
apparent regularity in the placement of the panels, but not in
themselves. The effect is similar to that of a cinematic jumpcut
– all the
more disorienting because of the already fragmented imagery.
At the heart of the series is Bamboo, a large
and ominous work in which
collaged stems of bamboo, blackened, skeletal, reach past the
edges of the
paper. There is a corrosive quality to the surface and the imagery,
ambivalence in the work that hovers in an uncanny zone between
menace, calm and calamity, shadow and materiality.
Other works, too, evoke corrosion and
effloresence, the earthy and watery,
depth and surface. From the Garden: Stage IV is suggestive of
elements and their beauty seductively fractured and disordered,
restored to an uneasy wholeness.