Current Exhibition

Mieko Akutsu & Karen Kuo
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 8th, 6-9 PM
June 8th – July 20th, 2024

Space Ten Gallery is proud to present a duo exhibition featuring artists Mieko Akutsu and Karen Kuo. Assemblies of hash marks in Mieko Akutsu’s drawings find formal analogy in the assemblies of variegated “lines” of colored porcelains that compose Karen Kuo’s “nerikomi” sculptures. Like marks on a wall signifying the passage of days, these bodies of work, in their meditative accumulation of countless small gestures, are deeply-felt representations of the passage of time and of our own impermanence.

In her “Blink” series on display in the gallery, Mieko Akutsu’s starkly minimalist black-and-white paintings on paper are relics of the artist’s durational performances which consider the human experience of time via mindfulness to a single human physiological response––blinking. In her performances, her lines on paper and the spaces between them correspond to each of the artist’s blinks and the seconds between; as the lines fill the paper and form rows down the sheet, decisions of size (of her marks and of the paper) dictate the sum duration of the performance. In the largest of these meditative drawings, the monumental 90-foot-long work displayed hanging from the rafters of the gallery, Akutsu has painstakingly cataloged the effort of her blinking for a 16 hours, a single day of wakefulness. Offering a stark contrast in scale, Akutsu’s “Blink music” series records the cadences of her blinking with punched holes on music box paper. In translating her performances onto a musical score, Akutsu neatly engages in a disarming synesthesia, with tiny crank music boxes providing audiences the opportunity to “hear” her blinking and thereby share in her experience of time.

Karen Kuo’s sculptures are deeply influenced by “anitya”–– the Buddhist concept that all things and ideas are contingent events that come into being and then dissolve. This concept is particularly evident in Kuo’s mud spheres, or “dorodango.”  What appear to be polished balls of stone are actually delicate, painstakingly crafted accretions of dirt and water, built up over countless hours and polished by hand to a perfect sheen. Also on display are an array of Kuo’s ceramics, which utilize a meticulous Japanese handbuilding technique called “nerikomi” that combines variously colored clay bodies into parquet geometric designs. Blending geometric abstraction and narrative with her painterly sensibility, Kuo employs this technique to create jewel-like and resonant forms––gems, offering cups, spheres, and radiating wall pieces. As fragile and meticulously-crafted accretions and assemblages, Kuo’s works are meditations on the effort of formation, becoming, and the contingency of incarnation.