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Tag: sumi-e art


Fumiko Kimura blends sumi-e paint with tea bags in inventive new series at Flow Gallery, Tacoma

Fumiko Kimura, "City of Destiny." Courtesy image.

If you haven’t already realized, Tacoma is a hotbed of sumi-e painting – and the latest show at Flow Gallery and Studios underlines the inventiveness of local artists to expand this traditional Asian brush-art with all kinds of new techniques and styles. It’s a mini-retrospective of the work of Fumiko Kimura, a renowned sumi-e artist, teacher and co-founder of the Puget Sound Sumi Artists Association, who learned her art growing up in Japan but who takes it to new levels with her latest series, “Poetry of Tea Bag Art.”

Tea bags? Yep: those thin paper bags, emptied of leaves but stained ochre by them, bring sumi-e into the 3D world of collage and open up new avenues of form in the world of curvy brushstrokes. Kimura places them thoughtfully into small works (created this year and displayed in the back of the gallery) where the black sumi ink is used more like a pencil to create sketches of people, places, things. In “Peggy’s Ukelele” a female mouse is bent happily over her instrument, the ink-dot notes wafting up into birds that fly through a tea-bag window into a drifting sky. “City of Destiny” fits a dreamy Tacoma skyline underneath a just-visible Mt. Rainier in gray ink, all over a tea-bag square. The effect is veil-like, transforming a landscape into a vision of the future, or a dream, mixed with Japanese and English calligraphy like layered annotations of meaning. Read more »