“The Geography of a Human Being” 2014
During a recent conversation with Japanese artist Rie m my intuition gave me a clear prompt – “My quest is to investigate the process of change”.
Over the following hours (and ensuing days) Rie’s story began to unfold. Our discussions granted her the gift of reflection, while allowing me insights into her creative and personal journey. Born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1978, from 1998-2000 Rie studied design at the Okinawa Art University. Prior to this she studied Chinese calligraphy twice a week for ten years. While at university Rie’s nomadic desires began to call.
Over the past 16 years Rie’s travels have taken her throughout S.E Asia and beyond. Rie lived in Ubud in 2001, Taiwan 2002, and Central Java in 2003 (studying at the Indonesian Institute of Art, Yogyakarta ISI). Late in 2004 she returned to Japan and during 2006 Rie had traveling exhibitions in Bali, Canada, New York and Japan. From 2009 Ubud was her home for another year, followed by 12 months in Malaysia. She lived in Mexico from October 2013 to August 2014, then back to Japan, and later on to Malaysia exhibiting in the Langkawi Art Biennale.
“Moving Off” 2016
“I create through the spectrum of my travels,” Rie said. “Via collage, utilizing an array of beautiful fabrics and papers I have collected along the way I represent and mix together the different cultures I have experienced.”
“It’s an intuitive process of layering materials and playing with colors to create movement, symbolizing my identity and inner world. I love to transform things that would otherwise be forgotten.” Rie’s compositions often feature harmonic rhythms shaped by spontaneous, repetitive circles and flowing lines; coded with cultural memory from many countries.
While living in Mexico Rie’s collages began to evolve, expressing herself with more assertive personal and environmental statements. While her technique is akin to a meditative experience, Rie admits underlying tensions were contributing to her work.
“During 2014 – 2015, for one year I stopped making art. The decision came about suddenly when I returned to Bali and discovered work I had stored away had been destroyed. This was an enormous shock, and other personal events unsettled me as well,“ she said. “During my contemplations I realized that I had become bored with my art, and I questioned if I wished to continue the struggle of being an artist. I felt my passion was lost and my energy all chewed up. It was the perfect time for me to step away.”
In December 2015 Rie returned to Ubud to begin an artist in residency program at Villa Pandan Harum. After a break she has returned to her art with a fresh perspective, and a sense of inner resolve. Rie’s artistic experience is intricately linked with her emotional world and she has had to endure a period of inner conflict in order to be transformed – as a person, and an artist.
“I had to face myself, my conflicts and contradictions, especially the destructive, controlling side of my ego personality. Since returning to Bali, however I have become less obsessive and more accepting, allowing things to unfold. I have been listening to my intuitive voice and my art has become more honest. After feeling stuck for 3 years I am now moving on.”
“This is a reflection of my personal life and letting go of the past.”
“Melodies of Time”
Rie m presents 30 works in her third solo exhibition in Bali – “Conexion & Contradiccion”. Some works date back to 2010, however the majority have been created during her artist in residency program. Her new work is a departure, taking on fresh dimensions. Compositions feature less paper and fabric, yet more images burrowed from the print media. Minimalist in structure, with calligraphy and paint, the figurative form, even landscape inspired compositions have become the basis of Rie’s new exploration.
“In life we are guided by a sense of where we wish to be, but not always will our behavior take us there. My artworks are expressions of the feelings that are born during this process. What is important as an artist, and a person, is to be courageous and to embrace change.”
“Conexion & Contradiccion” opened on 22 April and continues through until 22 May 2016 at Villa Pandan Harum, Gang Pandan Harum, Jalan Raya Agung Gede Rai, Banjar Abian Semal, Lotonduh, Ubud Bali
Words & Images: Richard Horstman
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