April Higashi // Artist Statement
The world of craft is a surreal place after the birth of my son last year. Before that momentous occasion, the space of making held more weight in my life. Now, though it is still important to me, it is met with a feeling of lightness. I am sometimes haunted by how to merge motherhood with making and my daily efforts to create new work are approached through a foggy veil. The many days and weeks spent creating these pieces where dedicated to unearthing a complexity from a chaos of new ideas that have occupied my mind and my studio. Hopefully when resolved and finished the works retain a mysterious presence and offer a space for peace and stillness. The enamels and fossilized coral pieces in this group capture this feeling of solace.
The abstract imagery painted in my enamels in the past emerged after snorkeling in Hawaii above the natural coral reefs. Swimming above the majestic beauty, I did not want to directly copy what I saw but instead convey the feelings experienced as I looked at the forms and moved through the water. This group of work is more direct, as coral-like branches are rendered to appear as if captured in a mist. The images are painted in layers using graphite, enamel and china paint. They are partially hidden creating an atmosphere of distance that asks the viewer to leave them to exist in their own quiet suspended space. I have accented these pieces with prong set diamond slice fragments, black diamonds and rose cut moonstones. The beads are French steel cut beads from the 1930's that add an eccentricity rooted in fashionable jewelry of this era. I have used bead setting as a reference to this antique jewelry, yet left surfaces smooth and sculptural.
This is a time for more awareness of our resources and greater efforts in recycling these objects of beauty. Reflecting my appreciation for nature, the pearls, coral, moonstones and diamonds in this group were bought from sustainable sources. The pearls are special fresh water American pearls harvested from the Tennessee River mostly from mussels. This second generation family business has spent over 50 years collecting pearls from our rivers and lakes. The dome pearls were originally used as a test for making cultured pearls. I have bought the remainder of this company's supply of these pearls. The companies that harvest the coral take only dead coral that is no longer feeding other species of sea life. The brilliant cut diamonds were bought from older estate jewelry. As a jewelry maker l bring my interpretation with the hope that there will always be a desire for a new perspective both in fashion and art.
('Ma' is not something that is created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements.It is best described as a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but rather the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.)
The show is up at Gallery Lulo through 7/30/11. The new work will be shown at Shibumi Gallery opening November 5th, 2011 with an extension of this series. This will be the first solo show at Shibumi of April's work since she opened Shibumi in 2005.