Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Based in: New York, USA
Tomoko Abe is a mixed media artist who draws on inspirations from evolving and decaying elements of nature and their spiritual imprints. Tomoko has been inspired by unnoticeable elements of nature, such as wind, soil and bubbles, as well as man-made artifacts such as industrial wastes and debris. She uses such seemingly trivial objects in her installations to bring them back to life, using the power of clay as a universal and embracing medium. Many of these objects are being consumed and thrown out as daily wastes in our culture of mass production and consumption. Tomoko incorporates them as cast objects, along with metal, glass, rubber, tree-bark, pieces of shellfish and other non-essentials. In some of Tomoko’s works, she installs them against a backdrop paper with cyanotype print of the pieces. The white shadows, displaced from the pieces, may suggest the passage of time or may be seen as spiritual footsteps seeking a connection to their original pieces. Ceramic and glass pieces spread over a wall may seem like small particles in the universe lost in time. Viewing them, one may get the feeling that the wastes we once threw out as undesired objects are regenerated. At the same time, it may make us realize how small we are as compared to the cosmos they depict.
Tomoko Abe grew up in Tokyo Japan until the age of 16. She graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art and obtained BA in painting with First Class Honour, during which she also spent half a year at Escuela de Bellas Artes in Salamanca, Spain, on the ERASMUS scholarship. She is currently living in NY. She has shown her works in many exhibitions both domestically and internationally and has received various awards, including First Class Honor Prize for distinguished work and Helen A. Rose Request at Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh, UK). Her works have been featured in the media, including 500 Raku, New York Times and Ceramics Art and Perception. Her work ranges from painting, paper making, ceramics and glass, but recently most of her work has been focused in ceramic installations.
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