Thursday, August 26, 2010

Riding the Waves


One of my favorite bodies of work is Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which include these extraordinary block prints of crashing waves. Waves have been significant to me in several ways throughout my life and though this print was done originally in the 1830's it continues to be relevant to me and many others on a daily basis. It truly transcends time. There is something so ethereal about the crashing waves that seem to be overtaking the peaceful and unmoving mountain in the distance.

My wise friend Zena said it best after surfing in Australia, "Being out on the ocean, at nature's mercy, makes you realize that we are all parts of a greater system. There is very little over which we have control. The biggest (and possibly most difficult) thing to learn it to just ride the waves, no matter how they overwhelm and rock you. Why? Because we have no choice, they will keep coming at their magnitude and pace no matter how hard we fight their current. And no matter how much we fear them." And like the tides, the difficult times will pass, because all is in constant motion and flux.
 These Mid-century style bent plywood chairs seem to defy gravity flowing from one direction to the other, mimicking the movement in the waves. With post-war technologies allowing the bending and molding of materials in ways people never thought possible, these chairs represent a fusion of the machine-made and the nature-made in a unique way.  The unfinished and non-uniform wood exemplifies the beauty of nature while their shape and structure itself defies it. Just because we have one does not mean we have to deny the other, anything is possible.

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