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Kobayashi’s creations explore paradoxes

Continuing our serial, we examine the comforting connection between nature and art. We are fortunate to live in a place where great art surrounds us. All it takes is a willingness to slow down and look up.

The medium an artist chooses inevitably restricts the artwork. What is possible with oil on canvas is often not possible with watercolour on paper and vice versa. But occasionally, an artist rebels against those restrictions. Naomi Kobayashi is one of those rebels. She began her artistic career working in thread and was fascinated with the contrast between how thread could be both gentle and strong. This led to the building of three-dimensional wall reliefs and sculptures built by glueing strands of yarn next to each other. When the scale of her creations outgrew “gentle” thread and yarn, she switched to “strong” steal that took on the appearance of “gentle” thread.

Kobayashi’s creations explore paradoxes. How thread can be gentle and strong, how two-dimensional linear fibre can be used to create three-dimensional objects with volume, how empty space has as much meaning as solid objects, how stationary objects convey movement. It is easy to see the influence of Kobayashi’s weaving heritage in COSMOS. The sculpture is huge but reminiscent of a wind-carried kite. This artwork is spiritual. She says, “COSMOS is to communicate the unity of the never-ending providence of nature’s cycles of life and eternal cycles of the universe.” It is also beautiful but admittedly challenging to photograph. It is best to see it yourself.   

Text Martin Wray / Photos Dave Chung