For twenty years, Japan-born, California-based artist Mariko Kusumoto had worked with metal. While she had learnt the basics of painting and sculpture-making as early as in high school, she was constantly intrigued by the Buddhist temple she had grown up in. The metal objects and historical artifacts would leave a mark on her and strengthen her to change her career path from a painter to a metal maestro – these metal works included intricate jewelry. But for nearly a decade now, the artist has used translucent fabrics like nylon, polyester and cotton as mediums for her ethereal, dreamy textile sculptures inspired by nothing but nature and the ocean.
At first glance, the eyes will not register the delicate details in the figures for, when looked upon initially, the textile sculptures seem to be floating underwater. Weightless, airy, flowy are these sculptures. The translucent nature imparts in them a luminescence that declares them surreal, unreal, but almost too real.
Vibrant coral reefs, sea creatures and objects of quotidian intrigue seem to sway with gentle, pleasant waves. Later, the textile texture registers; a labyrinth of fragile threads mirrors the delicacy of the real objects.
Kusumoto aims to recreate the myriad of the world under the ocean, the ecosystem that piques her interest by the day. When she gets time, she would watch documentaries on what lies underwater – according to the artist, creatures under the sea are artwork in themselves.
The sculptor aims to bring together her otherworldly translucent textile sculptures to create a faux ecosystem, perhaps even more magical than the real one.
She has befriended the ocean – deep waters and what prevails within finds manifestation in her work. To understand the depth of complication and beauty, pay notice to the assiduous webbing, elaborate threading and the use of metal pieces.
Chsck out these life-size crocheted sculptures.