Drawing with Silk and Graphite

Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Sunday June 24, 2007 – Monday October 15, 2007

This exhibition features the work of Akiko Kotani, the 2005 recipient of The Westmoreland Exhibition Award selected from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh annual exhibition. Using fiber as her expressive medium, Kotani captures the essence of form by stitching together layers of sheer silk fabric through which the viewer can see shadows of abstract forms and sense the illusion of deep space.

ARTIST STATEMENT
Drawing with wool or silk has opened vistas unknown to me before. I have drawn with more traditional materials such as pencil, ink, brush and twigs. Because I have had a love for drawing all of my artistic life, the non-traditional ways of drawing with wool and silk has given me new directions for creativity.

One new direction is the intriguing line quality, which issues from the use of these materials. Another new direction is the texture yielded by the superimposition of stitched fabric-lines on a hand woven fiber background. In the ?Black on White” series, in which I stitched with silk on a hand woven canvas, the result is a surface, which is abstract in conception, but also warm and often playful in feeling.

Grass” and ?Rain? series expands the two-dimensional plane of the previous work into a greater number of dimensions. In this series, which I stitched with silk unto layers of sheer fabric, the surface is also abstract in conception, but with a lingering evanescence in feeling brought about through the multiple layering.

“Andes II” exploits the shadows that lines stitched on silk organza canvas cast on the wall. This play of shadow, line and wall surface is rooted in the simple beauty of rendering cracks found on a wall.

“Storm-Daniel” is a 3-layered work drawn with silk on theatre scrim. Because scrim comes in wide widths the scale of works in this medium can expand to larger than life scale.

This work represents a direction, which enables me to combine my love of drawing with my love of fibers, and to express my passion for distilling, from the swirl of images, those which seem to me most aesthetically compelling. It is a direction that takes its departure from the most elemental and essential artistic gesture of all, the drawn line on a surface.