Over the last few months, artist Keiko Miyamori stayed in Japan for her Spring residency at BankART 1929 in her hometown of Yokohama, Japan. During her stay, she focused on two projects-- Tsunagu Book and her Portrait series.
During the residency, her Portrait series expanded. Three new works were added to the series over the course of two months. Her first work made and kept in her New York studio, Portrait of Myself no. 1, is a large linen canvas that combined black charcoal drawings, with rubbings made of gampi and washi. The work served as a basis for her new series, with her personal style of drawings finally reemerging into her larger works, after being only seen in her sketches. At BankART she completed three new portraits.
Two portraits were a continuation of her original, combining elements with white chalk drawings and washi rubbings made from around her childhood surroundings. Beginning with the linen foundation, which was used to transpose a tree rubbing from the site of the hospital where she was born, she visited the sites of the old playground she once frequented, the backyard of her childhood home, the path she took to elementary school, retracing her memories. The intimate nature of the series allows her to fully immerse herself into the work, creating connections between her own very specific memories and portrait, to the portrait of Takeo Arishima, who served as the subject of her third portrait at BankART, “Portrait of a Novelist. “
While Portrait of a Novelist had been made to fit within a medium frame, using the structure to hang from to create flowing layers, Portrait of Myself No. 2 and Portrait of Myself no. 3 use a frame as a removable piece that is covered in washi. As the viewer walks passed the work, the gampi— an even thinner washi made by Umeda Washi in Fukui, Japan— moves from the combined force of the energy of the person itself and the breeze their walk causes, to unveil the frame. The many layers of her “Portrait” series move alongside the viewer, creating interactions and connections.
In September, Miyamori will be returning to Japan for her solo show in Karuizawa at the Kogen Bunko using one of the works developed at BankART, “Portrait of a Novelist.” She will continue working to expand the series as well, for her Fall show in New York.
For more information on her concept for the show, you can find the online version of her booklet here.