mh PROJECT nyc  

mh PROJECT ノコギリニ 





Portrait of Being
a site-specific drawing installation


The event begins with an artist talk from Keiko Miyamori, followed by the improvisational performance by Mutsuyo Isaacs, and the closing reception.

Keiko Miyamori has always been fascinated with the underlying blueprint of the world we live and its layers beyond the physical and tangible. Japanese washi paper is used in conjunction with handmade charcoal, using all forms of a recycled tree. The washi is handmade by artisans in Japan using a traditional method of paper making with wood fibres, with a tree rubbing made of charcoal on bark, handmade at the site. Harnessing all forms of the tree, each frottage takes form of these thin layers that were once unseen. For many, moments are fleeting and forgotten, but within the layers of washi, Miyamori is able to release these memories into physical form, flowing within each other.

In Miyamori’s installation A Portrait of Being, she uses three large canvases of her own memories at different stages of her life.  The washi evolves in three different stages yet retain similarities and unity within its core. As each Portrait shares memories that build Miyamori as an artist, she uses herself as a medium to expand upon her own experiences to understand where the similarities of humans at their core. As a culmination of her past work, she uses motifs found within her drawings and sketches, to use her washi in a way to make tangible the layers of her own being. Using its scale, each Portrait engulfs the room, unveiling every layer like shedding bark.

The simplicity in design of Miyamori’s artwork draws attention to the physical element of the washi, stripped of the elements that characteristically embodied in paintings, and reflecting back only its raw essence. The Portrait removes itself of social construct, allowing for the direct connection into what makes an individual. What is left when unique memories are deconstructed and peeled from its context? Can one even be identified from their memories alone? Confined within our own self, Miyamori strives to understand what’s underneath the self and the dichotomy of nature and nurture and where they interject. Using small frames, Miyamori urges viewers to see themselves within the vast universe as a surface juxtaposed to that of the many other layers within a united existence.

Masks - Layers : interactive improvisational performance by Mutsuyo Isaacs
In our lives, we build up these layers over time, of memories and experiences. Our lives are just a fleeting moment within the entity of existence as a whole-- one layer within the layer of being. As the masks sheds these layers, the acceptance of what is upcoming brings us to this bare surface of peace. There is no negative or positive to these shedding layers, as it's just one part of us within the earth.

Keiko Miyamori (b. Yokohama, Japan) is a Japanese artist based in New York. She has been a resident of the United States since 1998 when she first arrived in Philadelphia, before moving to New York in 2011. After receiving her MFA and BFA at the University of Tsukuba in Japanese traditional painting, she studied at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting scholar, and continued her work in New York. She has held exhibitions around the world in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Germany, South Korea and Japan. Since its conception in early 2019, her Portrait series has been shown at BankART1929 in Yokohama, Japan, and most recently in The Literary Museum of Karuizawa, Japan. In 2019 her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Yokohama, Nagano and Tokyo in Japan. In recent years, she has mainly working abroad in her home country of Japan before returning to New York for her solo exhibition at mh PROJECT nyc. The exhibition marks her first solo show in the United States since her solo performance at the E-Waste Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York.

Mutsuyo Isaacs (b. Kobe, Japan) started learning ballet since she was 3 years old and has been dancing since. She came to New York to expand her career and further her studies of modern and contemporary dance. She has recently performed with MoustacheCat Dance in "Freedom isn't Free", a piece that examines life in the Japanese Internment camps during World War II. Originally from Kobe, Japan, she feels particularly connected to Keiko's artistic vision due to her own experiences of  losing her family in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. Kekio's expression of life compelled her deeply and she is thrilled to be able to participate in her project, "Portrait of Being".

The special edition hardcover catalogue pre-order is available during the show or through her website at special edition will have an original tree rubbing as well as a custom copper plate and only ten copies will be made.