Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kimono Viewing 101

Kimono viewing 101: Don’t forget to breathe
By Tom Wachunas

One of the common reactions I’ve heard in praise of Kimono is “breathtaking,” as in, “it took my breath away.” A cliché, to be sure, but nonetheless an apt and interesting one here. Truly sublime sensory experiences often give rise to hyperbole of this sort and, again, in this case, arrested breathing is a very real (hopefully temporary), understandable response. So what, exactly, is really at work in viewing the art of Itchiku Kubota?

Consider this: a sudden rush of astounding visual beauty, compounded with sumptuous tactile data, can have an impact akin to an unexpected blast of wind that knocks us off balance and punches the air right out of us. Yikes. I’m feeling hyperbolic again. Kimono knocked my socks off.

But here is a wind that transcends the air movement so delicately implied in Kubota’s sweeping, elegant landscapes. It’s almost as if they are collectively exhaling their essence in our direction. So it behooves us to inhale.

And what is the substance we are breathing? Far more than air. Here is an artist’s relentless pursuit of a technique that freed him to harness the very spirit of light and color in achingly marvelous harmony with form. When viewing this astonishing revelation of a lifetime pursuit, compose yourself. Don’t touch (even though the works beg for it), but be touched. Breathe with the landscapes. Be careful to contain drooling, as saliva and skin oil can damage the goods.

And put your socks back on.


BZTAT said...

Very well said, as always, Tom! Kimono left me without my usual articulation devices and I found myself stuck in awestruck hyperbole. Such visual mastery defies verbal description.

Tom Wachunas said...

I know what you mean, and yet we seem nonetheless naturally inspired and compelled to draw others, with words, into our celebration of the experience. The best visual art will do that, and efforts to reconfigure it into words can undermine its essence and shatter its integrity. I've always found that process to be both ironic and confounding. Still, I love the challenge. I don't mind telling you that I hope and wish for more folks to weigh in here anyway. Spread the word, and thanks so much for being the first to do so!