Sundaram Tagore

Miya Ando (Photo courtesy of artist)

She’s the 16th generation of a family of swordmakers turned Buddhist priests, but as steeped in tradition is her namesake, Miya Ando’s art is anything but outdated. In fact, if the cold, hard steel plates that adorn the walls of her Brooklyn studio are any indication, Ando makes art that’s distinctly contemporary. Perhaps even timeless.

Ando's 'day 13:00' (steel, patina, pigment, resin)

Like the beams of light that run through her polished steel plates, Ando is possessed of unswerving wit and charm. There’s an air of absolute determination about her, a prerequisite, I’m sure, which comes with being a woman artist who works with a decidedly manly material.

“Steel is very masculine,” Ando said, “it’s our most strong substance.” But as the unmistakable descendent of Buddhist swordmakers, no one is more up to the task of metalwork than Ando. To create the zen polish that suffuses the surface of her metal plates, Ando sandpapers the steel with such meticulous finish that even the most prosaic lump of industrial grade slab is transformed into an unclouded mirror of self-reflection.

“For me, sanding is a meditative practice. In Japanese, the term ‘Migaku’ means to polish yourself. Making yourself pure through meditation.”

It’s this very notion of purification that presides over her September 11th monument for London, to be completed before the 10th observance of that fateful day. The structure is entirely made of World Trade Center steel, with parts sanded and polished to a mirror finish.

“My intention is to transform the steel, and put it back to the public. A metaphor for transforming tragedy.” The polished steel, through its reflection of light would serve as a symbol for peace.

2 pair geta (hot-rolled diamond plate steel, steel cable, automotive lacquer)

Ando is of Russian and Japanese descent, but grew up with Japanese as her first language. Raised in Okayama, Japan, she grew up with a deep sense of reverence for her Buddhist ancestors and Eastern philosophy. This year, she will partake in the Haein Art Project at Haeinsa, a renowned Korean Buddhist temple built in 802 AD. Her outdoor commission will consist of blocks of resin that absorbs light during the day, then glows at night, thanks to its phosphorescent properties.

“Us hybrid East-West people, we can take two disparate things, and bring them together. And it’s important we do that, to pay homage to our ancestors and to draw from their cultural values.”

Furisode Kimono, stainless steel and sterling silver metal finishing 56" x 70"

Miya Ando’s works are currently part of a nine-woman exhibit at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York, ongoing through July 30. The Gallery is participating in the Chelsea Art Walk on July 28 from 5 to 8 pm, so that might be a good time to go. Live music, chilled Bellinis, and artists from the show will be on hand during the event.


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Kim Joon | Sundaram Tagore gallery

by Liz on November 1, 2010

in Art & Design

Art changes as it is poured into changing civilizations. After painting came photography, which came of age in that precarious period prior to World War II, and developed exponentially thereafter. And just as art pessimists bemoaned the end of art, 3D computer graphics arrived to save the new century.

An exaggeration of course, but that’s been digital artist Kim Joon’s credo for the last 14 years. And that credo has served him and his admirers quite well. Kim’s art may hold a haunting resemblance to photographs in anatomical detail, but snapshots they are not. The anonymous but titillating bodies that populate Kim’s 3D computer graphics provoke a little blush and a whole lot of desire, while the symbolic digital tattoos provide meaning and adornment to the vessels portrayed.

In his most recent series Kim presents the human body as hollow bodies of porcelain, covered not only in the traditional patterns of fine bone china, but also the motifs of Korean folk paintings and Buddhist artistry. These patterns may strike some as exotic, but for Kim they seem to remain comfortably familiar, while still maintaining a mysterious, talisman-like quality.

Kim’s faceless bodies were strewn along the clean lines of the Sundaram Tagore gallery when I visited on opening night, his clear plastic canvasses blending quite seamlessly with the gallery’s stark white walls. His pictures evoked sterile serenity while capturing elements of the erotic and esoteric. Beneath their placid surface however, Kim’s gently frozen bodies seemed to be harboring some wonderfully wicked secrets.

Kim Joon : Fragile is on display at the Sundaram Tagore gallery from October 14 to November 13.

Visitors on opening night.

Ebony Run (2008)

Fragile - Chunyang on the Limoge (2009-2010)

Fragile Holy Plants (2010)