'Brush Stories' Show in Oakland: How an Introvert Does StoryTelling

I just picked up my work this week from last month's show at 310 Gallery in Oakland. Now it's time for some photos and a quick update. I had a lot to learn in a short amount of time about gallery contracts, consignment sheets, pricing, and installation...but that recap is for another day. I put writing on hold last month because after-work evenings and weekends were full of painting and gallery-related events, but I'm back at it now!

I titled my exhibition "Brush Stories" because each piece is a glimpse of a story or experience. Whether it's due to a complete lack of skill or to personality type as an introvert—I'm terrible at storytelling. I laugh long before the punch line, I forget key components until the end, I get distracted by bright colors or smells...the list goes on but you probably get the point. The only way I can tell a meaningful story is with my hands.

Outside window, gallery sign, and my boyfriend-fit jeans.

Outside window, gallery sign, and my boyfriend-fit jeans.

These below are the 12 pieces I showed for the exhibition, "Brush Stories." I painted the first series of 3 large paintings on Japanese rice paper (purchased last summer at Sekaido, my favorite art store which unfortunately happens to only be in Japan) and the other 9 on watercolor paper (from Artist & Craftsman Supply, my favorite local art store).

"Brush Stories" by Ema Kubo
There are no rough drafts or under drawings in the tradition of etegami, or Japanese "painting letters." Etegami are direct, thoughtful, personal letters intended to share. The shift in perspective when thinking of the recipient rather than the perfect line calls for a change in style—coming to terms with the imperfect human touch. 
My focus moves toward storytelling in one snapshot of an experience. These glimpses of stories told by my brush—from surprises when traveling in Chiang Mai, Thailand, family breakfast traditions, to food in the gospel accounts—are reflections from this past year.
Continuing in the tradition of etegami, I include an image, a message, and a signature, but one crucial component remains—the recipient. The work will be complete when it has been shared and enjoyed by others.
MT14.20, 2016, Sumi ink, mineral pigment, rice paper, 26.5x54" (67x137cm) Translation: "12 baskets full"

MT14.20, 2016, Sumi ink, mineral pigment, rice paper, 26.5x54" (67x137cm)

Translation: "12 baskets full"

MT17.27, 2016, Sumi ink, mineral pigment, rice paper, 26.5x54" (67x137cm) Translation: "exceedingly above all that we can imagine"

MT17.27, 2016, Sumi ink, mineral pigment, rice paper, 26.5x54" (67x137cm)

Translation: "exceedingly above all that we can imagine"

JN21.12, 2016, Sumi ink, mineral pigment, rice paper, 26.5x54" (67x137cm) Translation: "from the morning"

JN21.12, 2016, Sumi ink, mineral pigment, rice paper, 26.5x54" (67x137cm)

Translation: "from the morning"

Steps, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 16x20"

Steps, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 16x20"

Nagasaki Gate, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 16x20"

Nagasaki Gate, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 16x20"

Taro Discovery, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["found a taro bun"] Same Same, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["same same but something's different"] Rainbow in Thailand, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["saw a rainbow in Thailand"] Labor Day, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["holidays call for hamburgers"] Breakfast, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["always for breakfast"] There He Is, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["hey it's Santa"] The Bird, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["feeling a little sorry for it"]

Taro Discovery, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["found a taro bun"]

Same Same, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["same same but something's different"]

Rainbow in Thailand, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["saw a rainbow in Thailand"]

Labor Day, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["holidays call for hamburgers"]

Breakfast, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["always for breakfast"]

There He Is, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["hey it's Santa"]

The Bird, 2015, Sumi ink, mineral pigment on paper, 4x6"  ["feeling a little sorry for it"]

Thank you for taking part in the work by reading through the post. Each painting has a story, so I would love to get any questions, comments, emails if you'd like to hear more about them! 

 

...and a few detail shots just for fun to see the effect of Japanese sumi ink on rice paper. It has to be done free-hand, no pencil drawing since the paper is so fragile. It goes against my type-A planner personality to have surprises while painting, but it's exciting and keeps me coming back for more. 

Detail of MT14.20

Detail of MT14.20

Detail of MT14.20

Detail of MT14.20

Detail of JN21.12

Detail of JN21.12

Detail of MT17.27

Detail of MT17.27

For a sense of scale of these paintings: my installation specialist (AKA exceptionally kind husband), Page, is 6'1".

Gallery shows are a lot of work, but there's an indescribably satisfying feeling to see these pieces up together as a series and to share them with others. I'm already looking forward to the next show!