More than fifty percent of the world-famous katana swords (used by the Samurai) deemed National Treasures in Japan are from the Bizen province in Okayama Prefecture, the ancient and ancestral land of the American-Japanese artist, Miya Ando, a descendant herself of these venerated swordsmiths. This, too, is the land where the revered Bizen ware (Bizen-yaki) was born more than a thousand years ago. Ceramics from this region are still fired in one of the renowned Six Ancient Kilns of Japan. This is a landscape of flowing rivers, majestic mountains, plush forests, and sacred Buddhist temples that beckon devotion, contemplation, and spiritual alignment with nature. It is little wonder—after spending many of her formidable years here with her grandfather, a head Buddhist monk in Bizen—that Miya Ando’s art has such a marked reverence for the natural world. In fact, it has become the lifeblood of her flourishing art practice.
“It comforts me to look at paintings that feel endless and vast, where, in my mind, I can float away to celestial spaces of quietude.” Miya Ando
In anticipation of her upcoming LACMA show, I was invited to take a first look at Miya’s new work employing studio-made, premium-grade indigo on giant sheets of handmade Japanese paper while also observing (quietly) how she proceeds forging ahead making works of exceptional beauty, tranquility and calm during NYC’s stringent COVID-lockdown. These new singular works by Ms. Ando envelope nature’s fleetingness and allure the viewer into solitary moments of absolute presence. — de la Haba