November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Miya Ando/Art

Fog (meditation 280), Dye on Aluminum, 36″x36″, 2010

Meditations in Metal

Lauren Ward photo

Occasionally something catches the eye, whether the barb is uniqueness, simplicity, or a blast of heat that melts into the imagination. Miya Ando’s metal plates exhibit simplicity, but that minimalism is based upon what is seen, not what is hidden within the crafting of the object, or within the viewer, the complex melding of which determines whether and how the object comes to life.  In this case, one opens the mind’s eye to enter a world captured in the metamorphosis from cold hard steel to cold hard steel with a contemplative soul.

Ando’s artist’s statement explains her attachment to metal work flows from her ancestors, including “Bizen swordmaker Ando Yoshiro Masakatsu. She was raised among sword smiths-turned Buddhist priests in a Buddhist temple in Okayama, Japan.,” and it is that heritage that “informs every aspect of my work.”

We were putting together this edition of ragazine.cc when Ando e-mailed that she had just finished installing a public commission for the Healing Place Meditation Room in Louisville, Kentucky. Titled “Shelter [Meditation 1-12], it is made of 12 g cold-rolled steel panels in a 40-foot parabola, a “polyptych” finished with patina, pigment, phosphorescence and automotive lacquer.

Ando with “Shelter”, Louisville Healing Place, Installation, 2010.
The Healing Place is a homeless shelter/drug rehabilitation facility in Louisville. (2010). Other similar commissions she’s completed include a Luminous wall piece for Safdi Realty, Brooklyn New York; a four-piece installation of 8’x8′ panels in the meditation center of Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, in Los Angeles, CA (2008); and the Wellness Room, a 144 piece installation of 4″ x 4″ squares, at St. John’s Bread and Life, in New York (2008).
Ando, 32, says there is a social component to her work that is as strong as the work itself: Awareness. When she left the temple, she promised her family she would work to promote Good. “The social component,” she says, “is just as important (as the art). Paramount is to help someone in some way.”
The Japanese kanji character shinobu means “perseverance”, a trait the one-hundred pound artist exhibits in the physical prowess required to handle the aluminum and steel she works with. It’s also a trait required of anyone who wants to make change. When she was in Japan visiting Hattori Studio where she apprenticed, Ando went to the nearby temple. What she found written on a giant piece of paper hanging in the altar of a nearly barren room was the kanji “shinobu”.
Her next show, aptly titled Shinobu (meditation 1-20), exemplifies the ethic of working to make a better world.  Element, the company that commissioned the skateboard series,  is also “committed to doing good”, she says. Element’s charitable arm, Elemental Awareness (which funded and helped organize the show), funds a variety of projects for inner city and underprivileged youth around the world, from the arts to sports and more. Ando has worked with EA before, producing a print that helped raise $2,500.00 used to purchase school and other supplies for children in South Africa. She wants to make clear that her intention with the work in this show, is as much to promote Truth and Compassion, and that she and Element share that same space.
“Shinobu” (meditation 1-20), a skateboard series sponsored by Element opening at the de Castallane Gallery in Brooklyn, with a reception October 7, 2010. “Shinobu” (perseverance), is comprised of large scale works and steel skateboards.  Proceeds from the sale of Meditation 1 will be donated to Elemental Awareness. vvvvvvv vvvvvvvvvv vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

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Miya Ando

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For more about Brooklyn-based artist Miya Ando, visit: http://www.miyaando.com/

Tsuru, an video installation in collaboration with Thomas Kruesselmann to be shown at ‘Born into the Purple’ , a video art show being held at The Rover in New York City, opening September 29th.
The video is based on the retelling of a traditional Japanese fairy tale, Tsuru no Ongaeshi (return of gratitude of the crane).  Filmed/edited by Thomas Kruesselmann.