MONO NO AWARE/ THE PATHOS OF THINGS: an empathy or sensitivity towards things that have suffered from experience
Japanese culture term WABI SABI:
WABI- subdued, austere beauty SABI- rustic patina
‘A simple awareness of the transience and impermanence of all things heightens our appreciation of their beauty, possibly evoking a gentle sadness.’
I took a cultural tour of Japan with a group through the University of Alberta in 1985, where we visited many historical sites, galleries, theatres, and took part in traditional ceremonies, observing the discipline of Japanese aesthetics and philosophies. Years later, I am convinced that many pieces in this series I’ve created are largely influenced and inspired by my observations.
I’ve always had a fondness for worn and weathered things, and I have to admit, a certain penchant for hoarding them. Much of my collection of ‘experienced’ items in this series have originated from by-products of processes in our sheet metal manufacturing business, in addition to bits and pieces that I’ve found or acquired over the years that may have struck my interest.
I also find some pretty interesting imagery in pieces of rusted steel, that can be found quite readily in our sheet metal shop. I look for naturally occurring impressions in the metal, and then I can promote more rust or add paint to draw out specific images that I might interpret. Copper is also a favorite of mine, where I can experiment with patinas and visual imagery. Using left for dead items that will work together to form abstract ideas, and finding ways to turn ephemeral items into art give me pure delight. Each and every piece or part has a story to tell.
Building this series over the past seven years has been a labor of love for me, created for my own sheer pleasure, however I am now very excited to see it exhibited as a complete body of work and to be able to share it with others.
I consider these works ‘living’ art, as they have already lived, but will continue to live, age, and change with time, as will we all.
A bitter-sweet realization of life’s impermanence.