Healing Beauty - SOLD

Size: 30 x 40 Framed

Note: This is a documentation photo ONLY!  The colors on the print version are the accurate colors. This image is just to show this was a physical piece, and has sold. Acrylic image transfer, acrylic skin, mediums, and paint on canvas.

Healing Beauty

On the surface, the piece is beautiful. Soft, delicate, and ornate, framed in gorgeous floral arrangements. Eastern Chinese and Japanese influences are noticeable in the architectural drawing, map, and apparel. Beneath the beauty, questions lurk as to the dualistic nature of the narrative. 

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On the surface, the piece is beautiful. Soft, delicate, and ornate, framed in gorgeous floral arrangements. Eastern Chinese and Japanese influences are noticeable in the architectural drawing, map, and apparel. Beneath the beauty, questions lurk as to the dualistic nature of the narrative.

The image of a fairly Western-looking woman in traditional Japanese costume is from an 1899 seed company catalog , which is of particular interest for its use of Japonisme.  The French term Japonisme, first used in 1872, refers to the influence of Japanese art, culture, and aesthetics in Europe and America in the mid-1850s, when, following 200 years of seclusion, Japan began to welcome and trade with merchant ships of various nationalities. (Barabara Wells Sarudy). The woman represents a western interpretation of eastern culture and art.

The upper third of the piece depicts the proposed Lily Valley Kuling Conference property, planned in 1926 but never built. The village of Kuling is on the slopes of a wide valley in the Lushan District of southern China. The image blends Chinese and Japanese architecture and style, and the property was intended to be a peaceful place, a place of brotherhood.  Maybe even a sort of utopian community.

The lower portion of the piece is layered with a map of Nanking (Nanjing) China. Here is where we begin to understand that the visual elements are at odds with each other. In December 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese Imperial Army captured China's then capital city, and murdered almost half of the civilians and soldiers in the city.

The early 20th century saw the continued influence of Eastern art and culture in the West, at the same time that internal and international conflicts brought about acts of aggressions and violence (e.g., Japanese attack on U.S. naval base at Peal Harbor, the use of nuclear weapons against Japanese citizens in Hiroshima by the United States and more).  Yet, the beauty of the piece’s elements overlay the contentious and often times violent relationships between Japan, China, and the United States.

The piece is Healing Beauty.  The title was not chosen to represent the “beautiful woman” in the foreground.  The title represents the healing and peace, to some degree, between these cultures, and the beauty emerging from the healing is exemplified in the harmony and balance of the collage.  Drops of gold adorn the lower portion of the piece in the original. S. Marie Farrand explains, “When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”

The drops of gold aggrandize the damage, and out of the suffering, peace and beauty bloom. The woman stands in a lotus blossom, which symbolizes “rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.”

Acrylic: acrylic skin, image transfer, paint, on canvas.​

1 Medium

2 Size

3 Styles

4 Frame

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Healing Beauty

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