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"Beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming... Beauty is an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life."
~ John O'Donohue | poet, theologian, philosopher
Poets and painters alike depict the beauty of a field of flowers... but made of plastic egg cartons and bottles? When Mayumi Amada was a child, her father reminded her not to waste the soy sauce she generously applied, saying, "Everything is born with a purpose, but if it is not used fully, its life is wasted." She has taken this message to heart as she breathes new life into found objects. Her delicate flowers in Flower Field (2008) transformed from cast-off materials suggests this respect for and balance between the natural and man-made: she saw the potential in the plastic bottles and brought forth the beauty through calm blue illumination and art-making. The symmetry of their lifecycles is poetic as well: just as flowers bloom and die to nourish the next generation, her plastic flowers can be recycled similarly.
When read within the context of her full show at MIA (Kuon: Eternal Flow of Time, 2010) with her plastic tarp doilies, her work implies that our life is no more permanent than those of flowers, uplifting the primacy of our lived moment. "In the eternal flow of time, we play but a minuscule part," Amada says. "The way we choose to use that time, however, creates ripples through the generations ahead." Amada intends to affect the viewer with her work, not to be understood superficially as uncomplicated beauty, and to encourage us to live into and foster our creativity. She had a career that left her exhausted and dissatisfied before discovering art anew while taking classes at UMN on a work sabbatical. Discovering the joy in her vocation, she calls us to do the same. The life of a flower is short; ours is as well.
Featured Artwork in Kuon: Eternal Flow of Time (2010: Minneapolis Institute of Art) by Mayumi Amada:
Flower Field. 2008, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic bottles, acrylic tubing, blue LED, wire, steel rods, washers, dimensions variable.
A Blip in Eternity. 2010, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic tarp.
Ripples of Regeneration. 2006, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic bottles, monofilament.
Ours Is As Well. 2008, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic tarp.
Floating. 2010, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic bottles, monofilament.
Bouquets from Grandmas. 2010, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic egg cartons, aluminum sheet, dimensions variable.
Doily of Foremothers. 2014, MNArtists.org, Minneapolis. Plastic tarp. (Not featured in Kuon: Eternal Flow of Time)