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Miya Ando's Fleeting Beauty

The artist's work investigates impermanence and transcendence



PINK CLOUDS 4.19.60.48.1
Ink on aluminum composite, 60 x 48 inches
miyaando.com, diehlgallery.com

THE ARTIST: Miya Ando

AN UNCOMMON CHILDHOOD: “I’m half-Japanese and half Russian American. My mom’s father was a Buddhist priest of a small temple in Okayama, Japan, so I spent my childhood living between Japan and the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.”

FORGED BY TRADITION: “My family in Japan—the Ando family—on that side of the family we have swordsmiths, and there is a very renowned swordsmith who made a Japanese katana that is considered a national treasure. When I was a teenager, I started looking at my identity and at things that helped me formulate my mixed heritage, and one of those things was this swordsmithing heritage. So, I started really getting into welding, and refinishing and metallurgy. I was interested in studying some of the traditional Japanese metallurgy techniques and combining them with contemporary form.”

INVESTIGATING IMPERMANENCE: “My work is about time, and about the relationship of one to time. I’ve really looked carefully at metals for their ability to communicate transitoriness: When you walk around a metal painting, the light shifts; it reflects light; it may reflect you. All constituent forms that create the universe are temporary—that is an idea that comes from Buddhism as well as quantum physics. Clouds are evanescent; they are changing by the moment. That’s what’s beautiful about our existence; it’s beautifully fleeting. And I think that the clouds are sort of a metaphor for that.”

TRANSCENDENCE: “I like to put forth calm imagery—to create instances that are contemplative and give a respite to the mind, and the mind can go to other levels of consciousness.”

NEXT: Ando’s work will be featured in The Big Sleep at the Haus Der Kunst, in Munich, Germany, July 18-September 8, 2019; and in Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today, at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, October 12, 2019, to January 6, 2020

As seen in the August 2019 issue

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