by Nancy Kay Turner
(Jan Baum Gallery, West Hollywood) Since the end of the last century, when Japanese woodblock prints flooded the European markets, Western artists have been fascinated with the Japanese culture. It is a culture which combines elegance with brutality, a refined aesthetic sensibility with an extreme commitment to the group. It is a beautiful country, steeped in spirituality, where even the written language is composed of drawn symbols. Even today Japan can be an enigma to the Westerner--a country where each morning men dressed in western suits burn incese as they pray in front of temples on the street.
"Japan Revisited #11," mixed
"Japan Revisited #25," mixed
"Cacti #10," mixed media,
|Mixed-media art is often about the psychological
relationship suggested by the juxtaposition of disparate images
and objects in a visual equivalent of stream-of-consciousness
writing. In Japan Revisited #11 the central image is reminiscent
of the life-sized ceramic warriors found in the tomb of the Chinese
Emperor Qin. Underneath is a photo which appears to be a battalion
of human forms, each seemingly identical and anonymous. To the
left is a swatch of calligraphic text. These images rubbing up
against one another suggest thoughts about the role of the individual
versus the group, especially the differences between our culture,
which prides ifself on individualism, in contrast to the Japanese
custom of venerating the group. Other standouts are Japan
Revisited #25, with its strong, symmetrical composition and
bold contrasts, and Japan Revisited #4 and #9,
which are both geometrically shaped canvses.
Glass also is exhibiting a series of mixed-media works, The Cactus Series, which has nature as its theme. These delicate works are filled with organic shapes which look like jellyfish with tentacles floating in a muddy sea of earth colors. Fanlike shapes, resembling origami paper sculpture, are affixed to a fuzzy, soft background. These are quiet, meditative works, zen-like in their stillness.
In The Cactus Series there is an emphasis on circular or globular forms which are vaguely sexual. Many share a common composition, with the circular 'egg-like' forms floating like ova in a womb. Even Glass' color is reminiscent of dried blood. These small, mysterious, seemingly fragile works are a rumination on spirit and matter.