With her Artpace project, Chiho Aoshima further expands her ideas about the intricate relationships among nature, humans, mortality, and industry through a wall-mounted watercolor installation—a first for the artist.
As we died, we began to regain our spirit stretches across its forty-foot wall and extends from floor to ceiling. Referencing a centuries-old practice of decorative screen making in Japan, the patchwork of woven paper takes advantage of expansive vertical and horizontal space in depicting an idealized, untethered locale surrounded by otherworldly clouds.
The focus in this work is the resilience of nature in the face of a doomed, over-urbanized future, a recurrent theme in the artist’s work. Digitally distorted photographs of iconic San Antonio buildings populate the wall, their shapely “bodies” embedded with wide-eyed female faces. A wash of muted watercolors and colored pencil articulates lips and lashes to fluidly merge the human with the industrial. These womanly structures float among heavenly swaths of nature: swirls of vaporous vegetation roll into waves of water that gently support the spirited metropolis, alive with only the ghosts of civilization.
As we died, we began to regain our spirit reflects San Antonio’s cultural belief in the animated soul, but it more broadly suggests that despite the impending doom of cities as we know them, nature will continue to prosper. This persistence offers hope. While continuing to find value in the past, Chiho Aoshima’s work looks toward a complex future that remains beautifully balanced by the organic.