Coming into Focus

Posted January 15, 2009 in Arts & Culture

Although it may not be readily apparent, there’s a difference between being invisible and “in visible”—and not only because the latter reference is the title of Bunny Gunner’s new show. “Invisible” means hidden, or not easily noticed—not visible. But “in visible” might mean a number of things: within the limits or bounds of seeing, in the process of seeing, manifesting something perceptible. Flipping through several pages in Webster can help you fuse together any number of choices, but considering the particular detail, delicateness and subtle works of fabric artists Cindy Rinne and Sumi, and the paintings and drawings of Penn Weldon and Tomoko Suzuki, “in” visible seems to mean traveling from an outside point of seeing, to a seeing from within.


It’s cliché to throw the word Zen around when talking about Asian artists—particularly Japanese—but in this case, the artists themselves (two of whom are from Japan) seem to be willfully and rightfully propagating the term. Cindy Rinne calls herself a “fiber verse” artist—an artist who explores meaning through fiber media. Her poetical works of fabric collage stitch work are tactile and vibrant, an amalgamation of texture and color composing landscapes and domestic interiors, wistful and warming—perfect places to meditate, in fact. Likewise, fabric artist Sumi stitches together material from abandoned kimonos and other cloth to create story scenes culled from her Japanese childhood: needlepoint foxes on transparent swatches are overlaid onto playful swimming and fishing hole scenes, hospitable pantry kitchens, and uncrowded train interiors. They are whimsical, filled with the innocence of children and nature and the antithesis of stress and the daily grind. Continuing the theme of serenity and the natural world, Tomoko Suzuki draws directly from his emigration from Japan to the U.S. and his Buddhist upbringing; his watercolor and ink Flight series of myriad birds maneuvering through the air is particularly spectacular in #2, where majestic seagulls angle and swoop, leaving glittering gold trails behind them.


In somewhat of a departure from the airy communal vibe transmuting through these three Asiatic artists, painter Penn Weldon transfers the spirituality of inside looking out to the distinctly Caucasian West in her dark desert scenes of cacti, mountains and clouds—works that seem to illuminate the mysterious and multiple personalities of nature, expressions that exist even when unobserved by the human eye. 


In Visible at Bunny Gunner, 266 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 868-2808; Open Tues.–Sat., 10AM–7PM. Thru Feb. 7. Free.


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