Mu, by Okura Jiro, is on display with an accompanying sculptural piece, Vessel fig. 2. The piece features unfinished black walnut wood, harvested from the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Black walnut wood which Okura chose had bended naturally, and Okura intended to utilize the natural essences of the wood for his sculpture. Thin layers of wood were layered together, building into a quadrilateral form with irregular edges. The texture of the wooden panel is unmistakably similar to the texture of the natural, cracked tree trunk itself; this illusion is created through Okura’s carefully planned layering of his shapes of wood. Taken from the description provided by the Asian Art Museum, this wood panel “reflec...
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..., clothing, and even tools.
While made with different mediums and aesthetic styles in mind, Mu and Traveling deep in the mountains are fitting parallels to one another, able to create narrative through their deeply contrasting origins. One could argue that Mu is too littered with human calculation and manipulation to form a parallel with the far more “traditional” rendering (via landscape painting), but I would argue that despite the unarguable mark of humanlike design, it beautifully marries human nature with the natural world, reflecting the metamorphosis of humans and nature’s relationship through time. The artist’s sending of his piece back to nature is proof of this. Both are their respective artists’ form of celebration of nature, and attempt to capture this natural beauty through the juxtaposition of human and nature through their artist’s individual methods.
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