As I mentioned yesterday, I was completely struck by the work of San Francisco artist
when I visited the ICA last weekend.
So much so, that I decided she should have a post all her own.
I confess to not really knowing much about her before, but seeing the few pieces on display in the
has inspired me to learn more about her life & work.
Born in 1926, to Japanese immigrant farmers in California, Asawa's first introduction to art was in the internment camps during WWII, where she is pictured below. Of this experience she says:
"I hold no hostilities for what happened; I blame no one. Sometimes good comes through adversity. I would not be who I am today had it not been for the Internment, and I like who I am."
From there she went on to study art at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, studying with the likes of Josef Albers, Merce Cunningham, & Buckminster Fuller. It was here that she, also, met her future husband, architecture & design student, Albert Lanier. Together they would have six children, some of whom are photographed below, by the renowned photographer Imogen Cunningham, a personal friend to the family.
Asawa learned to make wire mesh baskets on a trip to Mexico in 1948, using this technique she began to create the enormous hanging sculptures she is known for today. Her work is diverse & prolific, however, & some of her other sculptures are of tumbleweed & tree motifs.
The shadows that these pieces cast, are often as beautiful as the works themselves.
One thing that always interests me, is seeing photos of the homes of artists. I especially loved seeing these early photos of Asawa's living room, filled with children busy at work, on some art project perhaps, & all of her wonderful sculptural shapes hanging from the rafters.
Not only is Asawa a formidable artists, but she has also been an important advocate for art education, co-fonding schools & art & cultural workshops & festivals in the San Francisco area, which have become models for other communities in the US.
There is certainly much to admire about Ruth Asawa, both as an artist & as a human being.