The un­bear­able light­ness of Ja­cob Hashimoto

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

There’s noth­ing dark at all in Ja­cob Hashimoto’s in­stal­la­tion The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About, on view in SITE Santa Fe’s SITElab ex­hi­bi­tion space, but that’s the point. An al­go­rith­mic art­work of sus­pended mul­ti­ples of rice-pa­per kite forms, the in­stal­la­tion is like an ex­ploded view of a pix­e­lated en­vi­ron­ment — yet it evokes a tran­quil feel­ing in the viewer that is it­self at odds with its ti­tle and its com­plex­ity. Hashimoto brings a sculp­tural sense to his mod­u­lar installations, which of­ten ref­er­ence pop cul­ture but are rooted in art his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tions. Ja­cob Hashimoto: The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About is on ex­hibit through March 24, 2019. On the cover is a de­tail from Hashimoto’s Pry­ing in to the Se­crets of the Sky, a pa­per, wood, acrylic, Dacron, and bam­boo work from 2015; photo Anna Weirzbicka.

Ja­cob Hashimoto’s in­stal­la­tion at SITE Santa Fe seems to hover at the cross­roads of paint­ing and sculp­ture, but it tran­scends both. The SITElab ex­hibit, The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About, evokes an ex­pe­ri­ence akin to en­ter­ing into a pix­e­lated en­vi­ron­ment, a dig­i­tal com­po­si­tion in three di­men­sions, or a ge­o­met­ri­cal paint­ing ex­ploded into the sur­round­ing space. Cir­cu­lar and rec­tan­gu­lar kites of Ja­panese rice pa­per, each one framed by bam­boo, hang from the ceil­ing, creat­ing a sus­pended rain of col­ors and forms that some­how re­tains a feel­ing of two-di­men­sional bal­ance. The idea of creat­ing a com­po­si­tion in three di­men­sions was an evo­lu­tion for Hashimoto. “When I first started mak­ing large-scale installations, I was com­ing out of a back­ground of paint­ing and draw­ing,” he said. also taut, not hang­ing loose and bil­low­ing. The sep­a­rate com­po­nents are imbued with a ten­sile strength Hashimoto achieves by coat­ing the pa­per in an acrylic medium. Although some pa­pers are col­ored, most, like the bam­boo kite frames, are left nat­u­ral. “Lots of peo­ple are like, ‘The work is so Asian,’ be­cause I use the rice pa­per,” he said. “The fact of the mat­ter is, even though I’m half Ja­panese, I am not wed­ded to the use of rice pa­per. I use it pri­mar­ily be­cause of the way it’s made. Its in­her­ent phys­i­cal qual­i­ties al­low me to do things I couldn’t do with any other pa­per. The fibers, es­pe­cially in the pa­pers I’m us­ing, are in­cred­i­bly long and they’re in­cred­i­bly strong pa­pers. When they’re im­preg­nated with acrylic, you can stretch them over sur­faces and they re­main pli­able and don’t crack or buckle.”

Through­out his ca­reer, Hashimoto has made med­i­ta­tive, aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing works, some of which

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