New York-based Japanese artist Yasuyo Tanaka has her artwork on display in two different exhibitions in the city.
First, her work is on view in the Scholarship Show at the Manhattan Graphics Center. The show opened Saturday, January 12.
Her work all things are linked 311 was selected from more than 3,000 submissions for the International Print Center’s exhibition New Prints 2013/Winter, consisting of more than sixty projects by artists at all stages of their careers. The exhibition of etchings, lithographs, books, and sculptures runs from Friday, January 18 through Saturday, March 9. It will then travel to Art League Houston from June 21 through August 2.
Tanaka says, “I use my artwork as a key to understand others and myself.” A bookbinder and papermaker, Tanaka served as the book conservation technician at the libraries of the New York Botanical Gardens and Union Theological Seminary.
Her pieces were originally made for her show Regeneration: Listen to the Voice of the Dawn, which was held at the Azabujuban Gallery in Tokyo last year. all things are linked 311 is about the relationship between nuclear power stations and atomic bombs. In the work, paper cranes dot an all-white map of Japan, marking the locations of Japan’s nuclear power plants, as well as Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“I experienced how difficult it was to avoid radiation,” Tanaka says of her time in Japan last year. “The landscape of my hometown had not changed since I visited Japan two years ago, which was before the earthquake. However, my hometown, Yaita City (in Tochigi Prefecture, about 90 miles south of Fukushima), has had high radioactivity levels and became the first candidate to be the final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste. The horror of the situation is that we get used to the radiation exposure and potential radiation dangers in everyday life. In my work I want to make the invisible visible, in order to find a way to stare at the nature of the problem.”
In addition to her artistic pursuits, Tanaka is involved with the group the Manhattan Project to facilitate open discussions about the world’s nuclear situation.