Touch the Earth
Complex Contact
Since 1980

September 18 - October 25, 2003

Shoichi Ida, who has lived, worked and exhibited internationally throughout his career, has chosen to remain in the traditional Japanese city of Kyoto where he was born in 1941. Among his many awards, in 1986 he and Robert Rauschenberg were presented with an Award For Excellence in International Cultural Exchange from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 1989 he was awarded the prestigious Suntory Prize in Japan. Ida's work is in the collections of over 80 international institutions including the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the British Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution Sackler Gallery in Washington DC and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Best known for his paper works and prints, Ida has worked with a variety of media from painting, drawing, ceramics, metal, stone and cloth to environmental and installation art. For his first one person exhibition at Bellas Artes, Ida will be showing paper works from 1980 - 2000, smoke blackened ceramics from the 80s and soil paintings from 2000. The 3 dimensional paper works were made by pouring handmade paper pulp into a hole in his garden, the indentation serving as a mold. The dried paper becomes the background for dyeing, drawing or watercolor with the addition of fossils, stones, twigs, old Kimono fabrics or Kozo paper.

Ida's art involves a melding of Eastern traditions with a truth to materials common to Western Minimalism. The link between the two is nature. Ida has for many years worked on a series titled "Surface is the Between" which he explained in an interview published in the Hara Museum Review Spring 1987.

The "Surface" can be the paper or canvas or whatever, it is the point of contact between me and the ideas I am working on or the other materials I am working with. Or, an easier way to understand this might be to say that while we are talking now, there is a space between us where communication takes place. That space is important to appreciate — but you can't really see it, it's just air. You can't see the wind either, but if you look at the branches of a tree moving you can see the force of the wind. Through my work I try to make invisible phenomena visible by showing the point of contact.

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