The space-engulfing sculpture called Soft Walls is composed of thousands of square feet of crocheted plastic enveloping wooden walls. The plastic encasement flows off the wall and puddles at the floor. Its combination of external flexibility and internal solidity might be thought of as the image of a tender and soft mother who is, in truth, the strength of the family. Kotani states, “In fact, one of the underlying motives was to honor my mother’s love of handwork and that of other women by employing this technique.” She transforms everyday materials with clever use of scale, a minimalist pallet and her handmade technique. Akiko Kotani’s art embodies the surprising power and attraction of simplicity. Her work contains a depth of feeling within an economy of means.
Kotani states, “Forms exist in a rarified sort of space: “white space.” I imagine it in my reverie. The space is pure. Innocence is complete and time ceases. But the atmosphere is full of brilliant light. The objects are proportioned in a way that activate the space around them. Space here, is thought of as almost a solid entity. Contrast is totally for the sake of play. Using “women’s work” techniques to bring life to the forms that I conjure up in my dream space is how I delight in creating my work.”
Born in Hawaii, Akiko Kotani was named 2013 Artist of the Year, by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Kotani’s work belongs in many private, corporate and museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It has been exhibited there as well as in many international venues that include the Kyoto Municipal Museum, Japan and the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.
VAN & NPN: Women & Their Work is a VAN Partner of the Visual Artists Network (VAN). The Akiko Kotani: Soft Walls project is made possible in part through support from the Visual Artists Network Exhibition Residency, which is a program of the National Performance Network. Major contributors are the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. For more information: www.npnweb.org.