Linda Threadgill

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Mariko Kusumoto: Unfolding Stories

The Racine Art Museum:
October 24th, 2010 - January 23rd, 2011
The Society for Contemporary Craft: April 16th, 2011 - October 24th, 2011
The Morikami Museum: February 7th, 2012 - May 6th, 2012

A brilliant technician, Mariko Kusumoto masterfully fabricates and embellishes box constructions with a variety of metalsmithing skills including etching, electroforming, and patination. With astounding attention to detail she explores interior spaces, deftly transforming each compartment into interactive miniature theatres, revealing figures and objects with movable parts, rotating gears, and musical mechanisms. In the spirit of Joseph Cornell, Kusumoto is a constructivist, capturing the fantasy and magic of Surrealism, meticulously assembling cut-out fragments of everyday life into exquisite, precious objects imbued with her memories of Japan. It is a great privilege to present her extraordinary metal constructions to the general public. We know her magical and witty world will amaze and delight all who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to view her outstanding work.

The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446
(561) 495-0233

Traveling exhibition organized by Mobilia Gallery. Catalog Available.
Our special thanks go out to the museums and the lenders who generously parted with their pieces.


My father is a Buddhist priest, and I grew up in a temple that was founded four hundred years ago. While living in the temple, I took the place for granted and didn't think anything special of it. However, the more time that I spend living in the United States - with its diverse cultures and varied ethnic groups, the more conscious I become of my identity as a Japanese. As the yearning for my temple grows, I gain a greater sense of appreciation of it, as well as of Japanese culture in general. As time goes by, my memories become stronger and more vivid. This feeling is the inspiration of my artwork today.

Metal has been a familiar material to me since I was a child; polishing the elaborate metal ornaments in the altars in my temple was one of my chores. When the gleam of the gold-colored ornaments would emerge from the darkness, I could sense the spiritual world and its eternal silence.

In my metal work I often use brass, which is similar to the colors of the ornaments in my temple. In order to suggest darkness and age, I use several different kinds of patinas. As I create space and composition in the box, I think about where the found objects fit and how they interact with each other. I am always interested in making interactive pieces for the viewer's participation. Within the relatively small size of my works, I am striving to create a world of shadows, light, silence, spirituality, and my personal memories.

When I think about my temple, I remember the antique paintings with their faded colors, the hollows in the stone steps that four hundred years of rain dripping from the roof has created, and the dark colors of wood grain and old metal. In autumn, every pavement stone is covered like a rug with multi-colored gingko and maple leaves. In summer, I would be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the crickets and owls outside.

In Japan, because each of the four seasons is so distinct, there is a completely different atmosphere depending on what time of year it is. So many impressions have imprinted on my mind. These impressions, along with my Japanese culture, have become the basis of my artwork today.

I'm always interested in making interactive pieces. I like for the viewers to participate in my pieces.

I normally make 3-D pieces. However, this time I made only 2-D pieces on purpose. Even though these are 2-D, by overlaying them they become 3-D images, which causes interesting and unique effects to the images.


Mariko Kusumoto: Metal Box Sculptures

Mariko Kusumoto
Metal Box Sculptures

(Exhibition Catalogue)
Soft Cover
30 Pages
Published by Mobilia Gallery


Mariko Kusumoto
Tokyo Souvenir (Wearable Pieces in Individual Containers)
Nickel silver, sterling silver, brass, copper, resin, decal, found objects.
Closed: 7-1/2" x 9-1/2" x 8-1/4" - Open: 7-1/2" x 35" x 20"

See More Videos of Mariko's Work Here: Mariko Kusumoto's Movie Theater

Images of Artwork:

Images from Morikami Museum:

Contact Mobilia Gallery for more information: or call 617-876-2109

Mobilia Gallery 358 Huron Avenue Cambridge Massachusetts 02138 Phone: 617-876-2109 Fax: 617-876-2110