In an exploration of what it means to labor creatively, Guest Curator Yukiko Koide brings together work by six artists from Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California and six artists from Atelier Yamanami in Shiga, Japan; both creative spaces for adults with disabilities that are renowned for nourishing and producing outstanding artists. Labor of Love includes work by Momoka Imura, Kazumi Kamae, Yumiko Kawai, Masayo Takiguchi, Hideaki Yoshikawa, and Ai Yamamoto from Atelier Yamanami alongside work by Creative Growth artists Susan Janow, Dan Miller, Carrie Oyama, Tony Pedemonte, Barry Regan, and Monica Valentine.
The artists represented in Labor of Love have developed their own creative systems and through their intensive and patient labor, each artist has found their personal means of expression. They practice in various media, from classic art material like pencil, paper, paint and clay to found material such as buttons, pins, threads, and clothing. Mashing a typewriter; drawing circles and waves; flattening, granulating, and piecing clay; twisting and winding thread; undulating fabric; pricking pins: the artists’ individual techniques have yielded distinctive styles.
Susan Janow’s line-based drawings of grid and wave patterns and Hideaki Yoshikawa’s numerous and repetitious pinholes into clay tune us to their focused, steady art-making flow, while Dan Miller’s typing and physical gesture reveal his pulse rhythm. On fabric and on paper respectively, Yumiko Kawai and Barry Regan repeat circles: their actions are reminiscent of Japanese Zen monks who practiced making circles as a symbol of a free mind. Monica Valentine’s radiant spheres and cubes covered with sequins and beads certify her tactile sensitivity, as she claims to feel colors with her skin. Each lovingly crafting their sculptural work, Momoka Imura sews and forms her “Kawaii” buttoned blobs from multiple rolled layers and Kazumi Kamae builds her endearing clay figures from countless rice-sized clay pieces.
In the words of curator Yukiko Koide; “These labor intensive and handmade works of art give us a rare glimpse of inner life of their creators, and provide us with brilliant insight into human creativity and origins of art.”