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Jacob Hashimoto Exhibit

"Using sculpture, painting, and installation, Jacob Hashimoto creates complex worlds from a range of modular components: bamboo-and-paper kites, model boats, even astroturf-covered blocks. His accretive, layered compositions reference video games, virtual environments, and cosmology, while also remaining deeply rooted in art-historical traditions notably, landscape-based abstraction, modernism, and handcraft. Jacob Hashimoto was born in Greeley, Colorado in 1973 and is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Queens, New York."

The above is an excerpt from Jacob Hashimoto's bio, and reading it hardly conveys an appropriate picture of what he creates. It really is something you must see in person.

When planning out my trip to New York, I happened to find out that there was a Jacob Hashimoto exhibit on Governors island. Ever since stumbling upon pictures of his work a few years ago I was intrigued, and wanted to see one of his installations in person. In the weeks before the trip I tried to curb my curiosity, stopping myself from looking up photos of the exhibit. I wanted the moment I walked into the space to be the first time I saw it. Have the full effect all at once.

The timing worked out that most of my was going to be dedicated to walking around the East River, and visiting Governors Island. From the airport, I drove into Brooklyn, found a parking spot near the bridge, then caught a ferry across the river to Manhattan. Walk half a mile down to another ferry that would take me to Governor's Island. The ride over was rather quick, and generally uneventful, with a special pleasure in the early/mid century architecture and boat.

NEWS: Hashimoto on Governors Island

The Eclipse' fills the St Cornelius Chapel. Everything but the altar and the baptism well has been removed, leaving 15,000 bamboo and paper creations suspended from the ceiling. Black gives way to white, gives way to black. It appears as a solid unmoving mass filling the space.

But pause, take a moment, breathe. Notice the detail painted on each kite making it unique. The black ones reminiscent of the stars and stripes of an American flag. Pause a little longer, and you can see the smallest of movements. As if the simple act of you breathing causes a ripple in the room. For nearly half an hour I sit, breathing in the beauty. Watching for the finest ripple, trying to trace its movement from one end of the chapel floor to the ceiling on the other side.

On exiting the cathedral I walk over to the closest house. It is a beautiful old officer housing, that is no longer used for the same purpose. A small children's school desk sits on the porch. The wood and metal kind that was horribly uncomfortable but served as the foundation for many of our learning. I sat in the tiny desk chair, listening to the groundskeepers mowing the parade ground, the wind and the bird in the trees. Pausing for a moment to breathe it in.

Pausing to reflect. Pausing to find the words.... pausing to catch my breath. All that comes is an overwhelming feeling of exceptional relief and beauty. Tears begin to flow freely as, finally, finally I am able to breathe.

There has only been one other time in my life that a piece of art has affected me so hard. On my first trip to Paris, walking through the Louvre, a tour through the statue garden led me to a life size marble statue of a satyr caressing a nymph. I don't remember the artist, but I can clearly see the statue in my minds eye even now. The effect was so powerful that first day, that I made a point of returning the next day. And when returning to Paris years later, I went to the Louvre simply to see that one statue. Yes, it was perhaps one of those bucket list items to see the Mona Lisa (which is smaller than I imagined) and the Venus di Milo. But this statue.... and the Jacob Hashimoto exhibit.... those are the true treasurers in my life.

I understand this may not be the same for everyone. It may not take your breathe away, it may simply be a large art installation that makes you think. You may go 'Hmmm, that is pretty' and move on. For me, days later, I am still fumbling over my words trying to figure out how to describe it.

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