Journey featured the artwork of Sei Saito, an accomplished Japanese artist living in Flagstaff. Saito creates large scale acrylic paintings ranging in size as big as 8 feet tall.
The exhibition was on display at the Coconino Center for the Arts from June 23, to August 15, 2015. This was Saito’s first major exhibition of any kind. However, the artwork in it represents 10-15 years of work created in her studio in Flagstaff. The scale of the paintings make them difficult to find venues for, which is a big reason why this was her first major show. Journey gave the community the first opportunity to see the work of this hidden talented artist living in their town.
Seito gave two Artist Talks during the course of the exhibition. She also led a painting workshop that gave participants a hands-on understanding to her approach to developing art and using symbolism.
From the Artist’s Statement:
“As a Japanese artist now living and working in Arizona, I am influenced by the environment, patterns and colors in Arizona’s southwestern cultural heritage. The paintings in the exhibition are based on personal histories, myths and images influenced by living in Arizona and my Japanese heritage. The paintings become a window for the view to enter into a world of shapes, color and form. Nature and memories are often the themes of my works.
“I believe the strongest art works come out of what the artist is intimately familiar with. I am striving for my works to be a visual reflection of my responses to the immediate world and events around me. I try to develop a poetic language attempting to convey these brushstrokes, as visual metaphors, both tangible and elusive, layered in meaning. I explore ideas about experiences and the most transcendent or spiritual realms. Living between cultures, these images have become the dominant visual metaphor in my works.”