“The Kimono Influence”

The Ferry Building Gallery, West Vancouver
June 29 - July 18

The Kimono Influence
Sharmini Wirasekara, The Kimono Influence (minature),

As a quintessentially Japanese garment, the kimono has been a traditional form of dress since the 7th Century, a vehicle for political statement, and a means of indicating social rank. It has been worn by both peasants and nobility, and its fabrics have ranged from the humblest cotton to exquisitely embroidered silk.

In contemporary guise, the kimono has often been appropriated by Western artists as a form of wearable art. The current exhibition at the Ferry Building Gallery showcases the designs of five North Shore textile artists who have both acknowledged and departed from Japanese traditions. Their love of fine craftsmanship is evident in their exploration of designs from exotic to ethereal.

Sharmini Wirasekara's kimonos dazzle the viewer with intricate woven beads, while Emiko Carley focuses on textures by knitting copper wire, or by shaping paper for her kimono entitled "A Thousand Cranes". The dark side of the urge to possess beauty is expressed on her kimono in a graphic, narrative style by Rosalind Aylmer. Kimonos by Celia Pickles are made from silk painted in rich tones, and tops and jackets by Anne Marie Andrishak are given delicate form through hand-pleating. A slide show by artist Rosalind Aylmer, July 14, 7 p.m., will provide further context and detail on the history of the kimono and its influence on the wearable art movement.

© Mia Johnson