Teresa Argenbright Wordsmith

Writing Samples

Professional Pieces & Personal Musings 

Professional/Arts - Grant request excerpt to a private foundation for exhibition installation funding.

Excerpt from a grant application to the Warhol Foundation on behalf of the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. The request is under review.

The Artist and His Work

For centuries, kites have been an integral part of Japanese culture. Believed to have been brought to the country by Buddhist monks from China in the early 8th century, they were used for both practical and ceremonial purposes. As the latter, kites were symbolic of good luck or thanksgiving. They also signified strength, leadership and in the story of the warrior exiled to an island with his son, deliverance. According to legend, the warrior was saddened by the loneliness of his son, so he constructed a kite that lifted the boy back to those he left on the mainland.

Jacob Hashimoto’s interest in kites evolved from a boyhood hobby and is, perhaps, symbolic of his own deliverance into a passionate career. His kite creations have become his signature art form, drawing from Western traditions of painting and sculpture, the modular language of the digital age, and the centuries-old techniques of Japanese construction. Hashimoto is a native of Colorado and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who now divides his time between New York City and Venice, Italy. His installations have been featured in museums and galleries throughout Europe and the United States.

His installations are composed of thousands of discs or “kites” of intricate cut paper collage and bamboo that are handmade and suspended from an overhead metal grid. They are a symphony of contrast: the kites do not fly but instead are modular units arranged into structures that are monumental in scale, yet appear weightless. While they are three-dimensional and thus, can be described as sculptures, they also invite associations with painting. They appear as abstract painted forms suspended in space, yet blur the line between abstract and figurative. For example, an object may resemble a landscape when glimpsed from afar, but that likeness disappears into a series of innumerable pixels when the work is viewed at a closer distance.

Simply put, Hashimoto has taken the ancient art of kite-making – replete with the repetitive handwork of knotting, tying and gluing – and blended it with modern-day technology to produce structural tapestries that appear computer generated, at times reminiscent of early video games.

Further, Hashimoto’s works are consistently informed by his ongoing concerns with nature and its orderly qualities. One recent installation, The End of Utopia, addressed the change in the meaning of art, as humanity itself has increasingly become the perpetrator, rather than victim, of environmental and planetary chaos.

For his fall 2018 installation at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Hashimoto will design and install a work for the Grand Gallery, which is the permanent home to the Collection’s 18th century hand-carved sandstone façade of a residence from Rajasthan during Mughal India. The architecture of the Mughal period (1526–1857) is characterized by a complex synthesis of native Indian forms, media, and iconography with Islamic-inspired geometric designs and natural motifs. Hashimoto’s yet-untitled vision will connect the past with the present, by incorporating the façade into his installation to “bring the outside inside” using movement and creating a wave of clouds and providing a semblance of sky, among other elements of nature.

Known for meticulous design with an engineer’s sense of planning and precision, the artist and an assistant will spend approximately one month in the Crow Collection gallery installing the overhead grid, mounting each disc by hand, and positioning every detail of lighting and movement. As with every installation, Hashimoto painstakingly sources his raw materials primarily from Japan and continually tests the vibrancy of his papers under UV lighting to learn the extent of color changes under prolonged lighting environments. Examples of his previous works may be seen on his website, http://www.jacobhashimoto.com.

 

Teresa Argenbright