Continuing through March 16, 2019
A wooden oar carved with cherry wood hangs suspended from a ceiling inside the gallery, where Tomiko Jones has created a memorial to her father. “Hatsubon” takes its title from the Japanese tradition of honoring the one-year anniversary of a loved one’s death. Here, Jones presents a new iteration of a multimedia installation created in 2016. The oar is one of many water-related elements in this exhibition, which was inspired by conversations between Jones and her father before his death. She’s also included a suspended sculpture of a simple boat made of bamboo strips, which has a delicate, skeleton-like quality, and draws on the tradition of sending boats for deceased spirits onto the water.
Four small black-and-white photographs of the artist’s father, framed in dark wood, hang across from the boat. They’re grouped with another image that captures the sun, shining through branches reaching towards a blue sky. Together with the boat’s shadow, they hint at the connections between life as we know it, and another world that’s beyond us yet ever present. Large-scale photographs printed onto silk, including “River to Sea” with a lone figure standing on a shoreline staring into a vast sea, are suspended in the gallery. Their placement subtly prompts us to wander slowly through the space, journeying through both the artist’s experiences and our own memories.
The exhibition is anchored by a three-channel video installation called “Passage,”which is set within a partially enclosed space that allows for quiet reflection. The videos feature bodies of water tied to three birthplaces: Pennsylvania for the artist’s father, Hawaii for the artist’s mother, and California for the artist herself. The images are reflected in three shallow, oblong pools of water placed side by side at the center of the installation. White ceramic boats, the size of a human hand, float within the pools. More sit on shelves within the larger gallery space, where the artist’s thoughtful work heightens consideration of the tenuous boundary between life and death.