Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Hands On - Kelly Akashi: Formations at MCASD, La Jolla

By Patricia Frischer

I am starting this series of images from the Formations exhibition by Kelly Akashi with her series of hands because her methods of working is so intently dependent on what the materials tell her they want her hands to do. Everything in the show, no matter how natural it looks, it actually constructed.  Akashi works with wax, glass, metal and rope to name just a few of the mediums she is drawn to besides the photography for which she was originally trained. Currently she is exploring stone which is the last work in this body of work. .

The presentation of the created items is an essential part of the art. A pounded dirt pedestal is as vital and telling as the hands and caste metal branches on top.   Works are spiraled, stacked and layered which creates a rhythm and propels you through the rooms. It almost seems as if the works are speaking to each other. The relationship between the installations becomes chapters in a book building a story.

The tree shapes and branches are actually a big part of the story as that is all that was left in the landscape of an interment camp that her relatives occupied during the war. She says, “The tree is a witness.” That mystery of time progressing, spiraling and even frozen are all themes she explores. Leaving time to let all of these objects speak to you will increase your own experience. 



This is the third stop for the exhibition that started in San Jose and traveled to Seattle. Although it is the first museum show for the artist, many of these works are now in the collections of museums.

This was the fourth and final show for the first year of the new space at MCASD. All four shows featured one-woman exhibitions. But next year, there will be more group shows including one on the Caribbean diaspora and for Pacific Standard Time themed Art and Science this year, the exhibition will be about the human body. 

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