I was invited to participate in a sculpture show titled US-Japan Art Exhibition at the Tokyo Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan. The dates for the exhibition are March 20-28 of 2015. It is my understanding that there was an intention to invite 15 American artists and a similar number of Japanese artists to participate with their work. There will be events such as gallery talks by artists, receptions, and tours for those not familiar with the area. Each artist will submit one sculpture to the show and are expected to remain in Japan for the duration.
Why are you doing it?
I believe that this idea came about because of relationships formed at The Texas Sculpture Symposium at Midwestern State University in November of 2013. I am a member along with several other cast iron artists of a group called the Texas Atomic Iron Commission. We put on a casting demonstration and sculpture exhibition at the symposium and there was also a visiting artist from Japan named Hironari Kubota exhibiting as well. The sculpture professor at Midwestern State is Suguru Hiraide, also from Japan. Relationships were formed at this successful event that led to later discussions between Suguru and Hironari about co-curating a sculpture exhibition in a high profile venue in Tokyo. They submitted a proposal for a show that would combine Japanese and American artists to the Tokyo Museum of Art and it was accepted. It was after this that the American artists were given invitations to participate.
I strongly believe that the relationships formed at the symposium between certain artists with Hironari and his impression of the sculpture being shown led him to the idea of reciprocating with an even higher profile venue overseas. I do not know all of the artists participating from the United States but several were from the show at the symposium. All of us I am sure will be anxious to form new relationships and experience another culture in a context that highlights our talents as well.
Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practice into the classroom? Who is being impacted the most?
There are always implications of enrichment in teaching with new experiences. There are the international students who have differing cultural backgrounds that can be related to through common experiences and the discussions of universal or specific symbolic objects used in art pieces that have cultural context.
What hopes do you have for the future through your work?
As a member of the Texas Atomic Iron Commission I am required to stay up to date with casting technology and be willing to carry a share of the responsibilities relating to demonstrations that we offer. I built a portable iron melting cupolette for travel that resides in the sculpture area of ACU Art and Design. This equipment has led to some important relationship building at national events, other universities, as well as the Narrowgate Foundation in Tennessee that is a highly spiritual venue for which I was recognized last year with the Faith and Teaching award. I never underestimate the power of relationships that develop and where that can lead. I have former students that reside in Japan and have come back to visit bearing gifts and news of their achievements in life. Our university has had many connections overseas having to do with various disciplines and now Art and Design is making its mark. The members of the Texas Atomic Iron Commission have been putting on demonstrations and exhibitions since 2005 knowing that each event would enlarge our sphere of influence and build new relationships that continue to lead to more opportunities. This will be one of those opportunities.