Field Visions: Masako Kamiya, Nathan Miner and Lynda Schlosberg
What brings together the works by Masako Kamiya, Nathan Miner and Lynda Schlosberg is the way each of the artists engages with ways of seeing. Of course initially this ‘seeing’ pertains to the visual recognition of the art object: the paint on the surface, the formal qualities such as composition, scale, materiality, design, pattern, and of course their vibrant use of color. Additionally, each artist in Field Visions is concerned with the act of looking itself, a thoughtful looking. They are part of a growing number of artists and thinkers who emphasize slowing down and suggest a contemplative response to the fast paced culture of our times.
Masako Kamiya is known for her dotted gouache paintings on watercolor paper where she places one small dab of paint on top of another thousands of times to complete each piece. Her pieces often take months to complete and require tremendous concentration and patience. For Gordon College she has created a unique large-scale piece directly onto the gallery wall. From afar they are subtle, yet inviting, and draw the viewer in. Once up close, they reward the viewer with a different world, a microscopic universe of stalactites, miniature rock formations reminiscent of the painted desert or what seems like the topography of a vast open landscape either on earth or somewhere else. In her artist statement, Kamiya explains the following: “My process requires me to work intimately on the surface, and yet I also move away from the surface in order to see how the layers of mark-making negate earlier marks and reveal a new form. In this way, I slowly arrive at my own truth, which is visual satisfaction.” Her field of vision is both two dimensional and three-dimensional and challenges a conventional differentiation between the two realms.
Miner’s paintings encourage your eyes to journey around, not simply traverse the surface of the work, but also to delve into the various perspectival fields contained within each piece. Underneath the surface, Miner has created a grid-like skeleton that hovers between two-and three-dimensionality. The artist skillfully extends the pictorial space of the painting beyond the confines of a ‘canvas,’ beyond the gallery wall and out into the space of the viewer in an effort to capture the feeling of being surrounded. He delivers a meticulously painted surface that contains the history of the many layers of visual decision making contained underneath. This intense layering is reminiscent of the many layers of rock, sand, and sediment that form the geological layers of the earth’s surface. Miner’s process further supports the idea of shifting to a “different pace and state of consciousness for the artist and hopefully also the viewer.” Miner’s practice is an investigation of time, sensory properties, and our optical relation with the world and is concerned with phenomenological experience. He calls it the “physicality of seeing.” According to Miner, the paintings invite you to “practice surrender,” to enter a moment of letting go.
Lynda Schlosberg presents complex and colorful worlds of an ambiguous nature. The paintings bring to mind galaxy formations in deep space and the view of matter at a nanoscopic level. Their infinite potentiality is part of the works’ strength. The paintings are created using a rule-based system that generates interwoven patterns and layers of information that both obscure and reveal connections between the detailed marks. Schlosberg, in her artist statement, elegantly describes her process as one where, “Energy vibrates into form, and form breaks down into indiscernible particles of energy. The sum of all parts creates an ineffable whole.” Her interests lie with quantum physics, zero point energy (the ground state of all matter as always being in motion) and the underlying energy field that connects all things. This interactive field is a phenomenon described by American journalist Lynne McTaggart, in her book The Field, as a vast sea of energy that connects all matter in the universe. Schlosberg’s paintings visualize those underlying interconnections and remind us that we are not separate beings, but rather are part of an intimately connected whole.
Each painting in Field Visions functions as a locus, a tipping point where perception changes from the micro to the macro or from the two-dimensional picture plane to the three-dimensional space each object activates. Kamiya’s paintings shift from an abstractly painted image to a field of miniature sculptures that forms an imaginary landscape. Miner’s paintings physically surround the viewer to engage their peripheral vision. He asks the viewer to consider their physical place in relation to both the work and the larger world. Schlosberg’s pieces oscillate between the macroscopic and the nanoscopic, and often appear to present both simultaneously. Together, these three artists investigate perception and invite contemplation not simply on their work, but also on our place in the universe. It is my hope that as a result of the temporary poetic shifts created by these paintings, viewers leave feeling connected to a slower, reflective state of mind.