A Shaman Points to the Writing in the Sky

There is a particular artist whose aesthetic never fails to move me . . . deeply. She is a shaman of the heart, visionary artist Elena Ray.

Shamans Bowl~by Elena Ray (used with permission)

Shaman's Bowl~by Elena Ray (used with permission)

So you can understand that when Elena Ray points, I do not hesitate to look. Her recommendation led me to the work of  Shinichi Maruyama. Born in Japan, Maruyama graduated from Chiba University in 1991. He now lives in New York, where he created, and has become known for, his latest two photographic series: Nihonga and Kusho.

© 2009 Shinichi Maruyama; used with permission

Kusho #2~by Shinichi Maruyama (used with permission)

NYArtsmagazine.com noted that:

Shinichi Maruyama’s work is subconsciously influenced by a Japanese sense of beauty. This sense of beauty can be found in the concept of “wabi-sabi,” referring to the beauty of imperfection and understated elegance. Additionally, this beauty is also expressed in “ma,” the use of negative space, found in the art of calligraphy as well as in the design a of a traditional rock garden.

NY ArtBeat described the Kusho images as “more painting than photograph” and observed that they “literally deconstruct the material elements of ink drawing and calligraphy, allowing the viewer to see in extraordinary detail chemical and physical processes invisible to the naked eye.”

About.com featured an article by Beth S. Gersh-Nesic entitled Spirit in the Sky: Shinichi Maruyama’s Kusho Lands in Chelsea:

Shinichi Maruyama hurls black India ink into water (or visa versa) and photographs the millisecond that these two liquids collide. Capable of capturing this phenomenon at a 7,500th of a second, Maruyama takes full advantage of a recent advancement in strobe light technology which can record physical events faster than the naked eye can perceive them. In the series Kusho, which means “writing in the sky,” Maruyama’s goal is to arrest in space and time the sublime intersection of two different media before they merge into one.

The raw power of Maruyama’s large-scale photographs, “seem to enshrine isolated calligraphic events.” Gazing at one of his photos, you have a sense of witnessing something elemental. The image is “still,” but the inherent movement initiates a visual vertigo that leaves you breathless with astonishment, like a Dervish whirling his obeisance to the sacred.

Urban Shaman Gabrielle Roth has been quoted as saying “If you just set people in motion they’ll heal themselves.” I am sure she would greatly admire Maruyama’s works as a tribute to motion, and attest to the healing power they exude.

(To see more art by Elena Ray, visit her blog: The Transitional Image, her website, and these sites.)

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About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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One Response to A Shaman Points to the Writing in the Sky

  1. Dayna says:

    Carol, Elena’s work is truly beautiful!

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