November 16 - December 7, 2005
Hirofumi Maeshiba works in wood. Beginning with a section of log the full breadth of the cherry tree from which it came, the artist splits smaller pieces along the grain that are then cross-cut and lap-jointed with wood dowels to create a complex sense of space and an extraordinary variety of suggested form. The larger pieces retain the scale of trees, while the delicately assembled smaller works seem more animated - more removed from their natural source. Intricate joinery serves as a living adaptation to the wood's resistance and pliability, while helping to retaining a sense of a built structure. Though static, they wind and twist in a choreography of reconfiguration as one moves around them, implying many images while eluding any one dominant reference.
In a statement the artist wrote on the occasion of a previous exhibition he explained how an epiphany, triggered by an incident of street violence, led him to the study of Aiki-do, the Japanese martial art of self-defense that emphasizes an understanding of self and surrounding space as essential to consciousness. With this recognition came an insight for Hirofumi of sculpture as a definer of space, not just the definer of the outer shape and surface of a sculptural object. He expresses this use of form to articulate space as "creating the surrounding."
Coming to this realization by the unusual path of self-defense does not diminish the connection between Hirofumi's work and that of other modernist sculptors who emphasized space in similar fashion. He admires the work of Alberto Giacometti, particularly his Dog (1951, MoMA), which shares with his own work a feeling of drawing in space. Just as Giacometti's bronze Dog lopes through the atmosphere, its absurdly bendable legs giving the air surrounding the work an almost palpable sense of plasticity, so Hirofumi's sculpture climbs and meanders through a space both energized and redefined by the intrusion of each chain-link section.
Included in the exhibition are several drawings that stand alone, and yet illustrate the intense feeling for solid and void so evident in the sculpture itself.
All sculptures are cherry wood
Red-raser [sp], 2003