Rich deep blue indigos evoke images of the deep sea and night sky in paper maker and print artist Yuko Kimura Cosmic collages.
His work is the sole focus of the Fulcrum Festival organized by a decades-old but little-known Pasadena arts organization, Shumei Arts Council.
In Cosmic collagesKimura brings together various print media, “combining contemporary and traditional engraving techniques from Japan and the West, including etching, aquatint and monotype, with indigo dyeing methods that refer to the sea, the night sky and the Universe beyond” , according to the organization’s website.
Her layered and textured collages feature the artist’s handmade washi paper with old worm-eaten pages from ancient Japanese printed books.
Kimura’s technique is inspired by the “Japanese boron garments, which are patched from worn scraps of indigo cloth, and from her grandmother’s habit of storing scraps of fabric to patch together new clothing for her family.
Created in 1998, the Shumei Arts Council is committed to bringing the highest quality concerts, as well as unique exhibitions and lectures to Shumei Hall, Pasadena, so that everyone can explore and experience highly skilled artistic expression.
The non-profit organization said its mission is based on the belief that the community can thrive through art.
“We believe that people’s hearts and minds can be lifted through the arts,” said board member Ron Helgesen.
“When the spiritual level of the individual is high, then this also helps others when it spreads. And that’s the deepest aspect, “said Helgesen.” This is perhaps how we could be different from other organizations: we aim to raise people’s spiritual level. “
In addition to the work of famous artists, the Shumei Arts Council has also featured performances by famous musicians and singers including Paul Winter, Carol Neblett and Gary Burton.
The organization, which is associated with the Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan, also presented concerts for children.
Impact of the pandemic
Just like other organizations in Pasadena, the Shumei Arts Council also had to cancel shows during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the organization’s annual concert.
But Helgesen noted that they didn’t struggle financially despite the canceled events.
“Financially speaking, it hasn’t had a big impact on us because the Shumei Arts Council relies on volunteering. We have no staff hired; we didn’t have to pay any salaries. So we were really lucky in that respect. We didn’t have to fire anyone or anything. ”
“But yes, it is a shame that we had to be a bit quiet there for the period, but we are getting back into gear here and we hope to get everything started again here.”
Helgesen, however, acknowledged that recovering could be quite difficult because even with the easing of pandemic restrictions, it seems fewer people are ready to leave.
“We did ArtNight Pasadena and we noticed it [that] attendances are a little less. It doesn’t seem like people were ready enough to venture out and join a venue. ”
At the Fulcrum FestivalCosmic collages is curated by Japanese art historian and independent curator Meher McArthur and features 10 Kimura collage prints, mostly new works created by the artist for the exhibition and three borrowed from local Pasadena collectors.
The artwork will be accompanied by text explaining Kimura’s artistic motivations and the science behind his techniques, including Western engraving, Japanese paper-making, and indigo dyeing, according to the organization’s website.
The exhibition inauguration reception will be held on Sunday 18 September from 11am to 2pm, with a chance to meet Kimura and enjoy a tour of the curator at 11.30am
Makoto Taiko will hold a drum performance as part of the festivities. The stalls of the Green Life Food Market will also be open from 11:00 to 15:30
According to Helgesen, the organization’s upcoming events are still on the schedule as the annual Shumei Arts Council invited concert is being organized for early 2023.
For more information on the Fulcrum Festival 2022, please visit: To learn more about the Shumei Arts Council, visit: shumeiarts.org.