Kiyomi Iwata: From Volume to Line

April 12 2015

The first meter of silk produced by a silkworm is not really silk at all. Rather, it’s a coarse, uneven fibre called kibiso that resembles something between twine and waxed dental floss. Compared to its more fully-developed self, kibiso is decidedly un-silky and has for most of silk-making history been discarded as useless. Artist Kiyomi Iwata, however, recognized its quiet, utilitarian beauty and has for nearly half-decade been working with the material—turns out it makes both a versatile medium as well as a rather poignant metaphor for ‘practice makes perfect.’

2. Southern Crossing FourSouthern Crossing Four, 2014

Her kibiso work is the centerpiece of a new exhibition, From Volume to Line, which opened this at the Visual Arts Center. Every piece in the labour-intensive Southern Crossing series is marked by material and rhythmic difference—one includes its silk cocoons, another is meticulously wrapped in silver leaf, others are painted or dyed—and each symbolises change, serendipity and interconnectedness.

1. Chrysalis FourChrysalis Four, 20144. Southern Crossing FiveSouthern Crossing Four, 20146. Southern Crossing SevenSouthern Crossing Seven, 2015

Also on display are a number of representative pieces from previous iterative phases of Iwata’s work: dimensional sculptures of silk rendered structural with various combinations of stiffener, wire and deliberate deconstruction and reconstruction of the fabric; gold leaf grid hangings painted over with poetry; and enigmatic wrappings tied with elaborate knots and made with combinations of metal meshes, embroidery thread, paper, silk and gold and copper leaf.

5. Auric fold with Tanka 6, metal, gold leaf, thread_

3. Indigo Grid

See From Volume to Line at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond now through June 7.