Brush and Ink Drawings

This series of small black and white brush and ink drawings was inspired by a trip to Japan in the spring of 2010. I was impressed with the celebration of nature in the gardens of Japanese Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines where the plants have been tended over centuries to be both "hyper-real" and to represent elements symbolizing mountains, clouds, rivers and forests in symbolic landscapes. Pruning, over many, nmany years, creates plants with extraorindary twists and turns. Unlike many western gardens, where the roots are covered with lawn, or mulch neatly heaped around the trunk, in Japanese gardens, the roots are left exposed, and become celebrated objects of beauty in themselves, often more twisted than the branches above. I like the way that the sprawling roots created muscular "drawings" or low relief "sculptures" on the ground, and used brush and ink—the traditional Japanese calligraphy tools—to draw them. These drawings are also studies for a planned series of prints and larger works.