The works of sculptor Kazumi Tanaka and videographer Deb Davidovits are featured in a dual exhibition open now through May 8 at Beacon’s Hudson Beach Gallery. Known widely as a master woodworker the Japanese-born Tanaka, who now lives in Beacon, utilizes a combination of ancient and modern techniques to create conceptually complex, and intimate sculpture. Produced with painstaking care, and often over long periods of time, Tanaka’s evocative work explores memories of her childhood in Japan, and her life as an artist working in the US since 1987. Her newest body of work, entitled Bedtime Stories, centers on a handmade wooden orrery — a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in a heliocentric model of our solar system. For Tanaka, the orrery functions poetically as a metaphor for the narrative process. In conjunction with a selection of other carved and fabricated works in the exhibition, the artist evokes abstract notions of autobiography.
Independent curator and art historian France Morin noted in an essay for a 1993 exhibition of Tanaka’s work at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, “”¦[Tanaka] entices us into a magical world, like that of Alice in Wonderland, which the artist also enters and leaves-sometimes to escape the anxieties of the world.” Tanaka has exhibited at museums and galleries around the world, including the Kent Gallery where she showed regularly between 1995 and 2003. Her work is held in many prominent private and institutional collections.
Also being presented is the world premiere of a new animated video work by Deb Davidovits. In the new work, When Winter Comes, Davidovits creates an animated video shadow play, capturing low-tech hand-manipulated paper cutout figures and objects to create a poetic narrative about the passing of time. Set against an evocative music track, When Winter Comes constitutes a far more structured narrative than her previous works, which functioned more as video tone poems. The new work will be projected continuously in the second floor rear gallery. Davidovits has created a
hybrid art form. She begins with small paper cutout figures and objects and transforms them using the ancient art of shadow projection. She manipulates the cutouts, with clearly visible wires, evoking Balinese puppetry and classic Japanese Bunraku theater. Yet when the video is shown enlarged as a video projection synchronized to a carefully selected music track, the transformation of this hybrid form feels completely new, and quite unique. On a separate wall, Davidovits plans to show the paper props themselves, in an opening of her process.
Davidovits received a BFA from the Mass College of Art, in Boston, and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. In addition to her studio work, she works as a Hearing Specialist for the Marlboro School District, in Marlboro, NY.
The Hudson Beach Gallery is located above the Hudson Beach Glass showroom at 162 Main Street in Beacon. The galleries are open from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit http://www.hudsonbeachglass.com/.
Photos courtesy of Hudson Beach Glass