Ben Kikuyama

Cracked Series Statement

I love those times when nature and man overlap one another; moss growing on an old wooden bench, vines taking over a cracked concrete wall, a tree growing over a wire that had been attached to its trunk. There is a kind of aching poetry in these things.

Life is impermanent. Every living thing grows older and at some point passes on. By accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death, we then start to notice the melancholy beauty that lies subtly hidden within it. For some reason, I'm drawn to this, and I often find this hidden beauty in cracks and crevices. They are markers of time and reminders that we, as well as the material world around us, are all in the process of returning to the dust from which we came.

My newest series of mixed media paintings explores the crack as a motif and medium. We all encounter cracks in one form or another. They appear in our possessions, our bodies, our relationships. Cracks allude to many things. They can be viewed as a weakness, an intrusion, or a signal of impending trouble. But for every yin there is always its opposite, yang.

"Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." --Leonard Cohen

As we pass through life, we often get nicked or damaged along the way. It is part of our nature to pick ourselves up and move forward. It is this perseverance that shapes who we are. It is mirrored in nature, as well. The tree growing over an embedded wire, is the yang that presses against the yin. Thus, we're introduced to the second major element of the series, the stitches. In these works, we find the cracks lovingly looked over and repaired by a network of meticulous stitching. Some of the stitches become undone over the strain of time, but as the cracks progress, so, too, does the loving repair. It is this balanced dance of nature, with all of its tension and resiliency that I wish to express.