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Aspen Art Museum


Kelly Akashi: Cultivator

Jul 1, 2020-Apr 11, 2021

Kelly Akashi’s sculptural objects, from ethereal glass orbs to gently trickling fountains, take on a celestial, spectral quality. The Los Angeles—based artist uses a variety of media such as glass, bronze, wax, concrete, water, rope, and marble to explore their impressionable and indexical properties. Drawing from her own body, Akashi often uses bronze to cast her hands in varying gestures—fingers outstretched, gnarled, relaxed, or ensnared and cage-like. Working both figuratively and materially, her graceful objects appear to swell and undulate, echoing the impermanence of the human body.

For her AAM Commons project Cultivator, Akashi presents a larger-than-life-sized bronze cast of her hand overgrown with glass flowers and vines. As a cast of the artist’s own flesh, the piece captures her hand in motion as if conjuring a natural world into existence. This sculpture affords a macroscopic perspective on her skin creases, cuticles, fingernails, and pores. Recreating two different living forms—flowers and flesh—this work dwells on our human interaction with nature. Incorporating plants during Aspen’s warmer months, Cultivator presents the possibility of growth from decay, and joins together materials that are at once delicate and durable. In doing so, Akashi’s sculpture takes on qualities that are at once uncanny, appealing, and familiar.

This exhibition is curated by Simone Krug, Assistant Curator.

Watch a discussion with Kelly Akashi on her artistic practice and the details that went into the creation of the museum’s current presentation of her outdoor sculptural installation Cultivator.

AAM exhibitions are made possible by the Marx Exhibition Fund. General exhibition support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Visiting Artist Fund. Additional support is provided by the AAM National Council.

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