As a Japanese immigrant who has been living in the U.S for over 20 years, Mayumi Lake makes objects that float between states: East and West, longing and hope, memories and oblivion and past and future. In Japan, an awareness of life’s temporary nature is called “Mono-No-Aware”. This acknowledgment of impermanence drives Lake to preserve the past, seeking to archive the forgotten and the obsolete. In her Unison series, Lake explores the ancient Japanese tradition of Housage (pronounced Housou-gae) flowers. In times of political chaos and upheaval, people filled sacred prayer sites with bright, boldly-colored flowers which they believed would calm their despair and bloom for them in the afterlife. Unison is an ongoing sculptural-photographic series that offers interpretations of these mythic and heavenly flowers. She constructs these blossoms using motifs taken from vintage kimonos. The use of the kimono goes beyond being just a reference to Lake’s Japanese heritage; it signifies a dying cultural tradition. Indeed, the works from Unison appear to float free from the gallery walls like dissipating clouds or fading memories.
Process and uncertainty are crucial to Holly Cahill’s practice, which she approaches as a puzzle that has many potential outcomes. By combining various methods of painting, fibers, sculpture, drawing, collage and print, she invites chance and repetition into her work as a way of loosening her grip on how it ultimately unfolds. She draws inspiration from the shared spaces we inhabit, as well as the traditions that we pass down from generation-to-generation such as quiltmaking. Rather than referencing any single place, Cahill’s sewn canvases, layered collages, and paintings featuring illuminated marks point to patterns drawn from both the natural and artificial worlds. The emergence of systems, and their eventual collapse, are central to Cahill’s art. In her Diagram series, patterns emerge from fields of color like road maps to nowhere before transforming into traces of light that fade away. Works from Study of Thorns grow out of the wall like vines seeking the sun, only to turn back onto themselves to become a thatch of abstract lines and watercolor brushstrokes.
One of Cahill’s favorite architectural forms is the portal, which is typically depicted as a device or door that enables the body to pass from one space to another. She is particularly interested in combining this idea of a threshold that can bend the rules of time and space with its counterpart in our everyday experience. Cahill believes that doing so creates a space for us to consider the possibilities of what lies beyond our comprehension while we remain connected to what we see in front of us.