When teaching the design principles I always referred to Japanese art to illustrate the use of asymmetrical balance. Japanese woodcuts, in particular, have always been of interest to me. I am amazed at the control and skill necessary to cut and print such details. The colors are also appealing to me. One of the perks of being an art teacher is (or was because of present budgetary deficits) the field trip to museums. The location of the school where I taught was conveniently close to Philadelphia, less than two hours from New York City and also a three to four hour trip to Washington DC. I had the pleasure of visiting all these places with my students. One memorable trip to DC involved a stop at The Textile Museum. There we were treated to an incredible exhibit of kimonos. I believe they were all contemporary designs. Fabulous constructions of beautiful fabrics and designs filled the museum. It was probably the most exciting textile show I had ever seen.
I attempted to create a drawing using the kimono form as a focus. The drawing was OK, but never really came totally together. Oddly enough, I recently found this piece in a pile of my art work. When I completed the exploration on corrugated substrates I noticed that one piece in particular reminded me of a very broad and abstract interpretation of Hiroshige’s woodcuts. This connection prompted another try at a kimono motif. These collages are both more successful than my past attempts. Unfortunately they are bigger than my scanner and I used my camera to document the images. I promise the margins are even, or at least as even as I am capable of making them. My work is usually imperfect enough to create a matting and framing headache. In any event, I think these two may be finished for now.
My focus with both of these collages was to use an informal, asymmetrical balance within a formal, or symmetrical structure. Hopefully, I succeeded. The work on the right is glued to a gesso tinted substrate. Both pieces incorporate handmade paper from my teaching days. I’ve lugged a lot of stuff around for a long time. It feels good to use some of it now.