If you saw Primal Water: An Exhibition of Japanese Contemporary Art at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art last summer, you've already enjoyed an introduction to the work of Yasuaki Onishi. The artist returns to BGFA August 12 with Permeating Landscape, featuring two large-scale pieces intended to stretch (in one regard, literally) your definition of what sculpture can be.
"Vertical Volume" (pictured above) comprises 12 cylindrical polyethylene bags that are activated by vertical motion; the bags expands and contract, constantly filling and emptying in reaction to their environment.
The exhibit's namesake piece "Permeating Landscape" is a mountain-like form weaved from hanging strands of wire, which guests can stand underneath to experience a singularly unique sense of volume. A number of smaller mixed media and photographic works round out the exhibition.
And in September, Onishi will create an entirely new sculpture at the Artist Studio at Bellagio, using locally sourced materials. Guests can watch as Onishi builds a steel exoskeleton around a local tree, using a special welding process.
"I am suggesting systems that go beyond the human hand to trigger bodily sensations of sharing a work and a space, and I am exploring ways of knowing this world and its opposite," Onishi says in an emailed statement. "Using materials that tend not to retain clearly defined shapes, I create works that have significant effects on spaces. They are sculptures that do not point to any particular phenomena but leave much to be interpreted by the viewer. Handling what is 'other than it' allows 'it itself' to become clearly visible. By considering its extremities and its opposite side, and supplementing the hollows and voids with imagination, it is possible for a person to find their actual substances on the basis of sparse clues."
Permeating Landscape runs from August 12 to October 27, and his Artist Studio residency ends late this year. The BGFA exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and admission costs $10 ($5 for Nevada residents, seniors, teachers, students and military personnel). Call 702-693-7871 or visit bellagio.com/bgfa for more information.