|Jonathan Yukio Clark
The world as we experience it is transient. In this increasingly interconnected society, cultural identities are in constant flux – traditions fade out of existence just as new philosophies are born. My work is an exploration of individual heritage in the context of ever-changing multiculturalism, seeking to honor the constructs of tradition while simultaneously breaking convention to create an entirely new language.
During a recent yearlong stay in Japan, I witnessed through new eyes the progression of natural cycles and began to understand the culture’s deep-rooted embrace of the ephemeral. Seasonal changes sparked nuanced metamorphoses that permeated all facets of everyday life – color schemes, design aesthetics, fashion sense, culinary flavors, and festivals all came and went hand in hand with the months. Moments such as the blooming of the sakura (cherry blossoms) were as much a celebration of visual splendor as they were a reverence of history and an acknowledgement of impending transitions.
This experience has yielded a new series of silkscreen prints based on Hanafuda – Japanese playing cards that collectively reference the four seasons. This group of work represents the first installment of an ongoing series and comprises twelve compositions. Each piece is a reinterpretation of a specific card, incorporating floral elements associated with one month of the year.
Being the father of a young family, life has been full of change, growth and newfound perspective. My son and daughter has changed everything: From identifying what is truly important, to appreciating each day, to redefining my goals; my life has new meaning.
Through their innocence, they have taught me to see and appreciate "the simple things". I feel this is reflected in the show with my vision focusing on just that: The simple things in life that matter. With thoughtful composition, clean lines and edges, and vibrant colors, I aim to capture moments of significance. I am hopeful a connection is made between the viewers and my recent works.
I would like to say that I am honored to be in this show with these other artists. I consider all of them to be very talented, and that the work they do is significant not only to Maui, but to the State of Hawaii.
It may not always be an honest reflection of where an artist is in his work when the art is seen on gallery walls. For me, it is important to always be striving to change and to grow in my art. Hopefully those of you viewing my work will see that as I mature, that my work is also maturing and evolving. What you see is work in a variety of mediums, and the change of mediums comes about from this need to always be learning, to invite something new into my life and work, and to integrate that into this timeline of expressing myself through art. It appears that there has been a closing of a circle in my work recently as I return to my first love, printmaking, in a serious way. I find that I am incorporating things that I learned working in acrylics, encaustic, ceramics, and bookbinding into the prints, and that they are the better for it.
These days I seem to be motivated when context has personal meaning, "to thine own self be true".
And these days, that context seams to be about change.
My expressions for this exhibit vary in subject but the underlying theme is the impermanence of the moment. Our environment, our relationships, our own existence is in a state of movement and ergo, change.