Exhibitions | 2011
ISE Cultural Foundationl Bird Cages and the Gilded Boad, sound installation by Steven Berkowitz
January 14, 2011 – February 26, 2011

ISE Cultrual Fouddation
555 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

Photo by Kenji Takigami

See more pictures taken at this exhibition...

Bird Cages and the Gilded Boat: a Personal Note

At a time of intense polarization, when people appear irreconcilably divided, the work of Keiko Miyamori serenely points me toward the possibilities of connection, even--and perhaps especially--amongst ideas and iconography that ostensibly conflict. In Miyamori's art, I find myself questioning the boundaries that exist in my mind, seeing connections and co-existence where neither seemed possible. Her open-roof bird cages--their very bars of containment wrapped in rubbings from trees where birds fly freely--challenge the assumed hard boundary between freedom and captivity. These cages allow escape, but it's a dangerous world out there. I'm reminded that the security of a cage can offer its own kind of freedom, while living freely--but in fear of danger--could be seen as a form of imprisonment. In Miyamori's art, I see the connectedness and flow between these conceptual opposites, though it's the freedom of the world outside the cages to which she clearly points me.

That world is visualized and connected in a literally global way, as Miyamori personally traveled to five continents to gather the tree rubbings within the circular frames. Each rubbing appears coded in its own unique dialect, yet all are connected by the common language of trees. Boundaries between the natural and man-made disappear, as the charcoal rubbings on washi exist harmoniously with the?chemically-formed resin that surrounds them. As I walk amongst the framed rubbings and open-roof cages, the gentle call of birds from all fivecontinents fills the air, the ambient sound invisibly connecting artwork, visitors and the gallery itself.

Floating in this sea of connections is Miyamori's magical and dreamlike Gilded Boat, which unites the elements of water, earth and air in its imagery. Set against the rough, natural tree-rubbings covering the boat's hull, its gleaming gold interior beckons me with the promise of a journey to a place where imagined boundaries cease to exist.

--- Charles Nordlander, January 2011

Concept of "Bird Cages and the Gilded Boat"

Bird Cages and the Gilded Boat is a new installation of Miyamori’s recent sculptures and works on paper. Bird Cages Without Roofs consists of altered bird cage sculptures with open tops, implying a basic desire to escape the struggles and conflicts that keep people confined in metaphoric "cages;" addressing the dichotomy of captivity and freedom.

The Bird Cages are juxtaposed with Gilded Boat, a basic canoe transformed into a dream-like vessel and embellished with classical Japanese art materials- washi paper with charcoal frottage from tree bark on the hull and a gilded interior of gold-leaf. Unifying the sculptures are a series of Tree Rubbings with charcoal on washi paper, created from numerous trees in five continents, based on Miyamori’s travels over the past few years.

For this installation, Berkowitz presents a new sound art work created from tree bark - rubbing patterns in Keiko Miyamori’s installation- turning the visible markings into an ambient "soundscape." Field recordings of specific bird songs from around the world are mixed into the aural environment. Keiko Miyamori’s sculptures, combined with Steve Berkowitz’s audio, allude to journeys between different stages of being and natural elements: air, earth and water.