March 13, 2016 by smithartonline
The use of fables and parables to impart understanding is common around the world. Storytelling is an ancient vehicle for teaching. The tale provides enough information to the audience to complete the message by supplying personal experience and insights. I am a storyteller using visual media rather than verbal or written words, but a storyteller all the same.
Kitsune and Soldier is a reference to Japanese folk traditions about the kitsune, or a fox trickster, tales. A common theme revolves around stories of arrogant samurai who encounter the shape-shifting fox. The fox employs a human female form to seduce the samurai who, the next day, awakes to find himself in a ridiculous situation…the kitsune /woman nowhere to be found. Those interested in such things will find a source of information online at http://academia.issendai.com/japanese-fox-stories.shtml.
Kitsune and Soldier is a constructed box with mixed media additions using hand applied paints, inks and airbrushed acrylic paints. Various elements are individually cut and shaped, then attached to the main surface. Sometimes the pieces are screwed down onto the surface and sometimes they are glued and fused to the face of the work. The physical ritual of forming and applying the various forms and then the actual painting and collage application are the reward for the artist. This particular piece employs layering through the use of various media and collaged papers. Because I use different media in the piece, there is a natural layering effect, the result providing a feeling of time and of change. Of course the greatest advantage for me is when I really mess up an area of a work, I can cover it up with collaged paper and act like it was planned genius.
This work provides the viewer with symbols to use in creating a personalized tale. Some of the symbols are directly related to the kitsune and soldier while others are self-generated…they have meaning to me but I invite the viewer to assign her/his own interpretation. It is of primary importance for a dialogue to open between an art piece and the viewer: a work of art is a living entity and this interaction is what keeps the work vibrant and growing. An artwork is allowed to find its own evolution through the interaction with the viewers encountered. (Yes, I admit to a high dose of animism…always have readily owned up to it.)