Exhibition | Kibe Seiho | Contemporary Art at TAI Modern | Santa Fe | Art Week

Kibe Seiho

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Friday, 28 June 2019 to Saturday, 13 July 2019

Thirty years ago, bamboo artist Kibe Seiho was lying in the hospital recovering from a broken leg when he realized that he wanted to begin a career that allowed him to work with his hands. He quit his job as a gas station attendant and enrolled in the Oita Prefectural Bamboo Craft and Training Center in Beppu, Japan. Twenty years ago, he was struggling to support himself in Japan’s post-bubble economy. Ten years ago, he had his first solo show in the United States at TAI Gallery in Santa Fe. Now, he is returning to show his new body of work at TAI Modern’s upcoming exhibition Kibe Seiho, in which the artist will showcase his sensitivity to balance and proportion and his mastery of traditional bamboo basket-making techniques.

In many of his works, Kibe uses susutake, bamboo from the rafters of old farm houses in the area in which he grew up. The bamboo is naturally smoked by hearths built into the floors. Rich caramel tones are the cumulative effect of 100 years or more of human life. The variegation of these individual culms of susutake is prominently featured in 2017’s Blaze.

One of Kibe’s signatures is the use of the complex and challenging chidori plaiting technique, with its delicate x-pattern of hair-thin bamboo strips, as seen in Cloud Dragon. His baskets exude a warmth and quietness that reflect his personality, which is humble, open-hearted, and gentle. Perhaps most remarkable about Kibe’s new work is its incredible increase in both quality and scale, marking the impact that the past ten years has had on his talent as an artist.

“I weave finely-cut bamboo to express the ephemerality of nature and to convey my feelings and emotions. Simple forms, flowing lines, and calming colors are three elements I always keep in mind when I create.”

The artist became a full member of the Japan Craft Arts Association in 2000 and won prominent prizes at national exhibitions thereafter. He was a finalist for the Cotsen Bamboo Prize and won Best of Show at the 39th Seibu Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition and at the 10th national Wood and Bamboo Exhibition. In 2014, he was awarded the Purple Ribbon by the Japanese Congress for lifetime achievement in the arts. Kibe's baskets are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the Oita Prefectural Art Museum.

The opening is Friday, June 28, from 5-7pm. The artist will be giving a presentation for the public on Saturday, June 29, from 3-4pm. TAI Modern is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Kibe Seiho was born in 1951 in Kusu-Gun, Oita Prefecture, on Kyushu, Japan’s westernmost major island. Although Oita is a major center for bamboo crafts and forestry, he took a circuitous route to a life in bamboo. Kibe was working as a gas station attendant when, in his thirties, he resolved to live a more meaningful life through artistic creation. In 1989, Kibe left his job and enrolled at the Oita Prefectural Bamboo Craft Training center in Beppu.

Kibe was a top student but graduated into Japan’s Lost Decade of post-bubble economic stagnation. After years struggling to make a living as bamboo artist, he returned part-time to the gas station. The founder of TAI Gallery, Robert Coffland, helped revive Kibe’s career in 2001 by commissioning a major artwork which sold to an American client immediately. The next several pieces sold as fast as Kibe could ship them to the US, and this income allowed him to focus on his artwork alone from then on.

Kibe has a good eye for proportion and design, and the shapes of his vessels are understated but distinctive. He is a patient perfectionist who often works out a particular idea over several versions of a piece. His recent work exhibits a dazzling variety of complex plaiting patterns using contrasting light and dark bamboo.

Kibe became a full member of the Japan Craft Arts Association in 2000 and won prominent prizes at national exhibitions thereafter. He was a finalist for the Cotsen Bamboo Prize in 2004 and won Best of Show at the 39th Seibu Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition in 2004and at the 10th national Wood and Bamboo Exhibition (?). In 2006 and 2007, Kibe was one of seven artists selected to participate in a series of workshops offered by the Living National Treasure Hayakawa Shokosai V. In 2014, he was awarded the Purple Ribbon by the Japanese Congress for lifetime achievement in the arts. Kibe's baskets are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the Oita Prefectural Art Museum.

Telephone: 
5059841387

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1601 Paseo de Peralta

Santa Fe, NM 87501

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Kibe Seiho
06/28/2019 to 07/13/2019

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