New York-based artist Miya Ando is currently having her first solo exhibition at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York, showcasing her signature burnished steel and anodized aluminum works that deftly tie together abstraction, industrial fabrication, spiritual subject matter, and the lessons of American minimalism.
Using industrial dyes and rolled, burnished sheets of metal, Ando’s surfaces radiate luminous color, tantalizing the eye with a palette of serene blues and greens as well as pink, purple, and gold. Although such metals typically conjures up images of durability and hardiness, the shifting, protean hues that coat Ando’s treated surfaces also point to transience and ambiguity — “a transition from the industrial to the natural world,” according to the artist.
Although a similar anodizing process (which involves electroplating sapphire crystals directly onto metallic surfaces) was used by the pioneering minimalist artist Donald Judd, to create his spare, rigorously geometrical modular boxes in the 1960s. Ando’s application of multiple colors by hand yields a more watercolor-like patina that recalls the gentle, lustrous shimmer of Gutai artist Tsuruko Yamazaki’s analogous explorations of aniline dye and vinyl thinner on reflective tin plates.
Having grown up between rural California and a Buddhist temple in Okayama, Japan, where her grandfather was the head priest, Ando subsequently read East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and Buddhist iconography at Yale, before apprenticing for a master metalsmith in Japan. Most recently, she received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2012.