Where artists find inspiration for their work is often the majority of the challenge to create something new. Whether they are dancers, musicians, designers or sculptors, the concepts that drive the creative vision are the determining elements in whether a final product “works” or not.
Finding an artist who seems to “bleed” creativity is always an unexpected event. Whatever medium the artist chooses, when you see someone who has a deep resource for ideas and motivation, you want to take note and remember that person.
“Close to Me: Ceramics by Erika Sanada”, presented at the Canton Museum of Art until October 24, is a visual experience that highlights the limitless creative spirit of this Californian artist. The artwork is a spooky, fantastic, and colorful feast that is as disturbing as it is beautiful.
“My work reflects the strange and the scary. I am fascinated by the dark side, ”says the artist.
Once you take the time to take a close look at the different sculptures, it’s easy to see why Sanada would describe the work that way. The artist uses clay to create animals that have strange or different things about them, such as additional body parts, white eyes, and even physical attachments to completely different plants or animals.
Sanada sees a “troubled childhood and constant anxieties in life”, describing the things that inform the sculptures.
The play “Differences of Opinion” features a small dog-like creature that has birds and leaves living and growing on one side. On the animal’s nose is another bird which is sort of part of the dog and which seems to be the source of the “difference of opinion”.
This work has a particular tension about it. The creatures are attached to each other and are clearly working on something together as a group. Even though the animals depicted are clearly fantastic, they still retain a human quality and emotional state that helps make the work more easily identifiable.
One of the special parts of all of Sanada’s work included in the show is the way the artist chose to use color to help transport the viewer. Each of these sculptures is painted in vivid purples, blues, pinks and reds.
When Sanada uses a color that might look more like a traditional animal skin tone, it quickly transfers to a more whimsical color like purple or blue.
In addition, the artist roughened and lightly scratched all surfaces of the sculptures. It helps give them more texture, while also giving a feeling of something that maybe hasn’t been formed yet.
In the work “Feed Me”, Sanada created a dog in a sitting position. A bird is attached to the dog’s shoulder, and long, narrow leaves are in the dog’s mouth. All of the elements are physically connected with skin-like attachments.
While this adds to a creepy level, it also tells a story and creates tension. The three parts of the sculpture – bird, dog and leaves – exist in a circular world that expresses a demand for food and some of the challenges that surround this important resource. While it is not clear whether this sculpture shares anything personal with the artist, it is clear that a battle is being waged for a limited resource. The twist is that in this case the food might find a way to defend itself.
“In My Eye” is another wonderfully expressive sculpture that features a pink dog’s head with purple ears and a bird or perhaps, in this case, a large flying insect that appears to be about to attack the eye. of the dog. The expression of sadness on the animal’s face is palpable. We have all experienced something that has entered our eyes and the pain that it can cause. Here, the artist has done a remarkable job of representing and expressing this type of moment.
Each of the works included in this exhibition has a unique sensibility and beauty. The artist shares that “Beautiful and disturbing are terms I hear when people talk about my work and I like that these two terms are not often used together”.
It is difficult to look at these pieces and not notice the disturbing beautiful qualities. It’s also just as hard not to see the obvious talent and creativity this artist expresses with each piece.
Exposure: “Close to Me: Ceramics by Erika Sanada” until October 24th.
Place: Canton Art Museum, 1001 Market Ave. NOT.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission: $ 8 for adults, $ 6 for seniors, students and veterans, and free for children 12 and under. Free entry every Thursday for all.
More information: cantonart.org or 330-453-7666.