Precious Scars Statement
Pigment print on Moab Moenkopi Unryu rice paper, embroidery thread, encaustic; 16" x 16"; Unique
As a nation, Japan, with a history of violence like the United States, has confronted its past and committed itself since WWII to constitutionally repair and restore peace. In this series, photographs of peaceful, spiritual life taken in the traditional city of Kyoto, Japan, are materially marked with injuries of damage from violence repaired yet left scarred and transformed. The Japanese aesthetic practice of kintsugi - the repair of broken pottery with gold lacquer - provides a visual metaphor for transcending violence while usefully acknowledging and not hiding histories of damage. Metaphorically, kintsugi honors the acceptance of injury as part of the object's life and gives material form to the history of experience.
Each photograph of this series is unique and produced in a 4-step process. My association with Kodachrome slides and their use to record memories of experiences in other places inspired the square composition and white borders. I print the original digital photographs on 16" x 16" Moab Moenkopi Washi Unryu rice paper. I tear the print to damage and wound the image. Torn fragments from other photographs in the series back the tears, further mended with quick and crude sewing with colored embroidery thread. The repair doesn't restore the original image to what it was, but visually and viscerally accentuates the damage. Lastly, the prints are dipped in archival beeswax encaustic medium. The encaustic wax results in a translucent skin-like texture, holding the image together and enhancing the areas of tear and repair, resulting in “precious scars.”
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