Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi at the Portland Japanese Garden

Getting to the matter of the matter

I had a reason to invite my acupuncturist friend, Gwen LoVetere to come along with me to see the Noguchi exhibit, “We Are the Landscape of All We Know” at the Portland Japanese Garden. Well, not so much a reason as a gut feeling.

Gwen is a practicing Buddhist, and while I am hesitant to associate Noguchi with a particular religious affiliation —let alone try to establish some East-meets-West theme for this essay— the title of this exhibit, a quote of Noguchi’s, strongly suggests a certain spirituality, especially in light of other similarly worded ideas of his printed on banners at the Gardens. I also invited Gwen because she had never been in an art gallery before a few months ago, yet I found her input about that work nevertheless as insightful as any I had heard from others about the exhibit. I was hoping get a repeat performance with the added bonus of her spiritual awareness.

In effect, I was relinquishing part of my role as the art critic —the illusory aspect— for I suffer no illusions that I work in vacuum nor that I’m the final authority on much more than how a new pair of pants should fit when I first try them on. No, this arts writing thing is a learning process, and if I could discover how someone else looks at art, then I might benefit in an expanded reading for myself.

I would not be disappointed.


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