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Contemporary netsuke

A forum for INS sponsor Artists to showcase and discuss their work.
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Leon
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 5:13 pm
Location: The Netherlands
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Leon » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:30 pm

Clive wrote:So what if a little is spilt in the "Sumo".. we are lions. ;) :D

Guess to what my name refers to.

On. Over. I enjoyed the view!

dougsanders
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:05 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN, USA

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby dougsanders » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:44 pm

I've been sitting on the fence about giving an opinion, but now it's just too tempting :D, although my thoughts might not be too cohesive...
I re-read Leon's comments about the piece several times and I think they're very valid and well thought-out regarding approaching the piece and its creation not as a 'statement', but one of several in a line of exploration based on the question he states about being a Western netsuke-shi.
It's a question we all ask ourselves, as carvers, and I think (based on my own 'path' as well as observing the development of of others) it's one that needs to be reckoned with throughout a lifetime of production. But so does the creation of any art. Why am I driven? What is this subject I've chosen? Why have I chosen this media to speak about the subject? Is this the same question contemporary Japanese carvers ask? Of course I think it is.
However, they have the benefit of growing up within cultural and artistic traditions that we don't have, so we've either got a lot of cultural acquisition to catch up on, or we consciously challenge the form/tradition as is quite common in Western Art- at least for the past several hundred years :) . I think Leon is choosing the latter at the moment, and for me personally, this is the wrong way to go. Inherent within netsuke is a Japanese/East Asian approach to art making; they can't really be separated. I don't think an East/West hybrid can be achieved consciously. Of course that's what we're doing unconsciously as Western carvers, but the task for us is to recognize and dissect those tendencies and see where they come from.

Back to his work:
Is it an interesting exploration of a theme? yes
Will it help Leon progress as an artist? yes
Does it show technical skill? somewhat
Is it a netsuke? no.

I say this because it's a strongly held belief of mine (and something I've grappled with too) that if we are to utilize this physical 'form' of netsuke (a small carving, with a hole, and a certain level of precision maybe) we must also grasp the spirit of the netsuke. With that goal, comes a certain understanding that there are cultural and aesthetic traditions to uphold. Can a netsuke be carved that doesn't allude to cliche Japanese themes? Yes, of course. But we must also keep in mind that these are not miniatures, statues or painted figurines, or technical achievements of minutae in a Western sense. I add this because I see, even among relatively-new Japanese carvers, some tendency to drift away from essentials. What's the difference? The difference is the approach, the internal spirit of the carver, the intent, and the aesthetics- all difficult topics to put a finger on- but I think, with experience, we know it if we see it.
Last edited by dougsanders on Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Clive
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Clive » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:55 pm

Well said Doug.. I couldn't agree more.

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Leon
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Leon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:28 pm

Thanks Doug for your reply. It's fair and clear.
Just a little venom at the end (or it is just me interpreting wrong) "we know it if we see it". Doesn't that exclude other opinions?

Let's not make this bigger than I intended it. It's not a comment on anybody's work. I don't want to change anything.
Just exploring. And all the comments and opinions are really welcome.
Me asking myself questions about himotoshi in my personal work, in this piece, is not ment as a statement for others and other works.
A netsuke needs himotoshi, period. And wel designed, but we recognise that if we see it. :)
Last edited by Leon on Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dougsanders
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:05 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN, USA

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby dougsanders » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:34 pm

Hi Leon- no venom at all. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear with my language. I just meant that when it comes to aesthetics, and particularly all those Japanese terms (shubui, iki, yugen, etc.) they can be quite difficult, at least for me, to put into language. That's after all why we choose to express ideas through visual means, right? :)

And, I'm with you 100% that this was a personal experiment for you, seeking answers...

So, where is your journey leading you next?
Last edited by dougsanders on Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Leon
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Leon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:46 pm

Thanks Doug.
Although seeking itself is always a great drive, one must not overdo. ;)

There's a lot to explore within the usual boundaries. Started on a frog, always wanted to do a frog.
Never knew how, or why, till a friend witnessed a little 'occurrence' I love to tell.
Last edited by Leon on Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Clive
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Location: UK

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Clive » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:16 pm

Leon wrote:Started on a frog, always wanted to do a frog.
Never new how, or why, till a friend witnessed a little 'occurrence' I love to tell.


Don't tell me.. an Iwami style Frog on a Condom... ? :lol:

.. looking very pleased with himself

729586831_preview_funny-evil-smile-frog-hands-clasped-yes-excellent-pics.jpg
Last edited by Clive on Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dougsanders
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:05 pm
Location: Bloomington, IN, USA

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby dougsanders » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:37 pm

That's funny- I'm working on a toad right now.

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souldeep
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby souldeep » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:08 pm

From a non carver perspective, I find this discussion provides me shards of insight into the philosophy of artistry. Thanks for sharing and being so open. It's a personal thing to share a work, and openly invite critisms. I wonder how many collectors reading this will stop, then rethink about the meanings and intentions behinds the works they have already collected to date.

I believe collectors and artists do share a common ground. We are all on some form of journey towards something greater in our appreciations of aesthetics and meaning. Thank you for taking the time to share your places in these journeys.
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.


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