MASAKO MIKI: Conversations with Fox,
Feather, and Ghost

March 4 - April 30, 2016
Artist opening Friday, March 4, 7-9 PM

CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions is pleased to present Conversations with Fox, Feather and Ghost, a solo exhibition of new drawings, sculpture and installation by San Francisco Bay Area based artist Masako Miki, on view from March 4 through April 30, 2016. The gallery will host an artist reception on Friday, March 4 from 7 – 9 PM; this is the artist’s first solo exhibition with CULT.

Masako Miki is an artist known for immersive installations and detailed works on paper. Miki often portrays animals in relationship to other species as a metaphor for personal transformation or the precarious place of our physical and emotional surroundings. A native of Osaka, Japan, Miki explores the intersection of belonging, cultural assimilation and metamorphosis.

For Conversations with Fox, Feather and Ghost, Miki explores the intangible world of spirits and souls as portrayed in traditional Shinto & Buddhist cultures, integrating distinct traditions of communicating with the deceased and spirit entities of the natural world. ‘Shinto,’ which translates as ‘Way of the gods’, is a collection of native Japanese beliefs and mythology expressed through ritual practices to celebrate a multitude of gods or ‘kami’. One principal ritual is the annual event Obon which commemorates one’s ancestors, who are thought to return to earth in order to visit their living relatives. At the end of Obon, participants float lanterns down the river to the ocean to guide the spirits back to their world. In Shinto belief the saying “Yaoyorozu no kami”, which literally translates as “Eight million gods,” characterizes many natural elements and animals as deities, exhibiting a range of personalities and characters. Fox, a recurrent motif in this new grouping of drawings, is one of the most mythical animals, known as messenger in Shinto origin stories. The Feather, newly introduced to Miki’s cast of characters, positions her native landscape in conversation with the Native American Sanctuary of Gualala, a coastal Mendocino county town where Miki was in residence last year. These mystical animals and objects Miki portrays manifest in a state of metamorphosis, alluding to the unseen spirits that fill the rich Shinto tradition.

Miki’s use of the Japanese craft tradition of hand felted sculptures and paper lanterns offers the viewer an experience of heightened materiality and reduction of form to its most essential: the subtle domains of that which is imperceptible and immaterial. The transparent and delicate qualities of the Japanese washi-paper, used to construct the lanterns, demonstrate the ethereality of our natural world. Miki describes her intent with the paper lantern installation: “I wanted ‘A way home’ to evoke the experience of visiting a shrine, which is the place where the tangible and intangible realm intersects. My installation serves as path to enter the main structure in shrine, which the short walking path is usually surrounded by trees, lanterns, stones and statues.”

Miki’s felt sculptures draw references from Yokai/Obake (preternatural creatures or monsters) in Japanese folklore. Literally the term means ‘a thing that changes’, refering to a state of transformation or shapeshifting. Often the Yokai take on form of a disguised animal like cat, or a fox, or it may disguise itself as a human, or appear in a strange form such as one-eyed child, or faceless ghost. Miki approaches these preternatural monsters with a sense of humor, her use of color and materials suggesting a playful and mischievous nature.

Masako Miki´s work envisions a cosmic view of our world in constant flux expressed through an evident affinity and connection with nature. The meticulousness in her works emphasizes the importance of minute gestures, a micro and a macro vision, in which each element, no matter how small it may be, is integrated in a universal order. The whole emanates from every part; every part permeates the whole.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Masako Miki has exhibited throughout the Bay area at venues including Headlands Center for the Arts, the Berkeley Art Museum, Kala Art Institute, and Root Division Gallery. She has been a resident artist at The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), Project 387 (Gualala, CA), Kamiyama Artists in Residency (Tokushima, Japan), Facebook Artist in Residence (Menlo Park, CA). Miki is scheduled for the Artist in Residence Program at the de Young Museum in 2016. She received her MFA from San Jose State University, and is an adjunct faculty at University of California, Berkeley. Miki is represented by CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley, CA.

Artist Page

Image Credits (from left): Masako Miki, Message from Ghost, 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches; Kuchisake-onna, Kasa-obake, & Abumi-guchi, 2016, Wool and 14K gold filled pin, Dimensions variable; Feather forest, 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 22 x 30 inches. 
MASAKO MIKI, Message from Ghost, 2016. Ink and watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Message from Feather Deity, 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 22 x 30 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Feather Forest, 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Forest Deity, 2016, Ink on paper, 30 x 44 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Following, 2016, Watercolor on pastel paper, 27.5 x 19.5 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Waiting, 2016, Watercolor on pastel paper, 27.5 x 19.5 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Delivering Message (Fox), 2016, Ink on pastel paper, 27.5 x 19.5 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Delivering Message (Pigeon), 2016, Ink and watercolor on pastel paper, 27.5 x 19.5 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Revisiting a Place I’ve Forgotten (Two Rocks), 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 15 x 11 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Revisiting a Place I’ve Forgotten (Three Rocks), 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 15 x 11 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Revisiting a Place I’ve Forgotten (Four Rocks), 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 15 x 11 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Revisiting a Place I’ve Forgotten (Five Rocks), 2016, Ink and watercolor on paper, 15 x 11 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Kaze Ni Mo Makezu (Be Not Defeated By Wind) - After Kenji Miyazawa, 2016, Ink on hand-dyed indigo paper, 51.5 x 73.5 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Ame Ni Mo Makezu (Be Not Defeated By Rain) - After Kenji Miyazawa, 2016, Ink on hand-dyed indigo paper, 51.5 x 73.5 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Kuchisake-onna (Slit-Mouthed Ghost), Kasa-obake (Umbrella Ghost), & Abumi-guchi (Stirrup Mouth Monster), 2016, Wool and 14K gold filled pin, Dimensions variable
MASAKO MIKI, Rokurokubi (Floating Head Ghost), 2016, Wool and sterling silver filled pin, 3.5 x 2 x 1 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Kuchisake-onna (Slit-Mouthed Ghost), 2016, Wool and 14K gold filled pin, 5 x 3 x 1 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Hitotsume-kozō (One Eyed Ghost), 2016, Wool and 14K rose gold filled pin, 2 x 4 x 1 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Bakezōri (Wandering Sandal), 2016, Wool and 14K gold filled pin, 4.5 x 5 x 1 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Abumi-guchi (Stirrup Mouth Monster), 2016, Wool and 14K gold filled pin, 3 x 2 x 1 inches
MASAKO MIKI, Grouping of Yokai, 2016, Wool, 14K gold filled pins, pine and latex paint, Dimensions variable

Current

VECINOS
October 27, 2017 - January 20, 2018

Past

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life
January 10 – March 4, 2017

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Release Me
October 21 - December 10, 2016

NO SHOW MUSEUM: Yves Klein, Maria Eichhorn, Daniel Knorr, Etc.
One Night Only: Monday, October 17, 2016

DESIRÉE HOLMAN: Selected Works
September 17 - October 8, 2016

SHE MOONAGE DAYDREAM:
Facundo Argañaraz, Leah Guadagnoli, Desirée Holman, Kara Joslyn, Max Maslansky, Liz Robb, Tamra Seal, Emily Weiner, & Cate White

July 16 - August 20, 2016

PABLO DÁVILA: Ladies & Gentlemen,
We Are Floating In Space

May 13 - July 9, 2016

MASAKO MIKI: Conversations with Fox, Feather, and Ghost
March 4 - April 30, 2016

SUZY POLING: Total Internal Reflection
January 15 - February 27, 2016

DAN GLUIBIZZI: You Don’t Have to be Alone Tonight
November 6 – December 19, 2015

FRANCESCO IGORY DEIANA: Haptic Render
September 11- October 31, 2015

SEXXXITECTURE: Daniel Gerwin, Rebekah Goldstein, Roman Liška, Max Maslansky, May Wilson & Jake Ziemann
July 1 - August 1, 2015

ADAM SORENSEN: In Situ
May 1 - June 27, 2015

KLARA KÄLLSTRÖM & THOBIAS FÄLDT: Village / High Hills
February 27 - April 25, 2015

PRINCE RAMA: How To Live Forever
January 25 – February 21, 2015

JOSEPH DUMBACHER & JOHN DUMBACHER: Divert (Out of Line)
November 7, 2014 – January 16, 2015

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Passenger
September 12 – November 1, 2014

A PATTERN LANGUAGE: Michelle Grabner, Angie Wilson & Lena Wolff
June 20 - July 19, 2014

MICHELLE BLADE: Gathering Into Being
April 25th – June 7th, 2014

MIGUEL ARZABE: /*Reject Algorithms*/
March 7 – April 19, 2014

JACQUELINE KIYOMI GORDON: Drawings
March 7 – April 19, 2014

FRITZ CHESNUT: Purr Valley
& Rhonda Holberton

January 10 - February 22, 2014

UNSEEN: Miya Ando, Miguel Arzabe, Chris Duncan, Klea Mckenna & Dean Smith
November 10 - December 21, 2013

Past Off-Site Exhibitions

LAS COSAS QUE PINTAN / PAINTING IN AN EXPANSIVE FIELD
Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino

April 9 – May 17, 2015

EBB: Gina Borg and Chris Russell at Loczi Design
December 10, 2014