By Alessandra Stamper
Japanese artist Tomo Mori has lived all over the world after leaving her hometown of Osaka, Japan, including the Caribbean, Latin America, and West Africa. She now lives in New York City where she exhibits her work prolifically. Mori’s works at the Judy Ferrara Gallery are from her Internal Fluidity series, which draws its inspiration from the multitude of feelings that we have no choice but to go through, confront, and resolve one way or another; feelings like happiness, which results in laughter, sadness, which results in crying, and everything in between. Also at the gallery are works from her Sakura Sanctuary series, based on her memories of Sakura trees growing up as a child in Japan. Sakura trees, or cherry blossoms, are a symbol of peace in Japan.
In addition to these inherent emotions serving as the basis of this series is her interest in the individual parts that make up the larger whole, no matter how big or small they may be. This curiosity prevails in all of her work and stems from the complexity of organic structures that make up the human body, a society that is a collective of the people within it, wonders of nature that are comprised of millions of cells, etc.
This fascination with the parts that make up the whole is represented in her work by the hundreds and thousands of small painted pieces of canvas that she then pastes onto a large stretched canvas. The color palettes of these mixed media works range from dark blue edges that explode in bursts of light blues and greens in the center, to multicolored bursts of color on one side that fade to neutral matte hues on the other side, and neutral matte hues on the edges that form almost a tornado-like surge of small multicolored canvas pieces in the center, all overlapping one another, fighting for attention. Despite the vivacious nature of these works, there is a relaxing, meditative quality about them that makes you wonder about the meaning of the complex arrangement of the tiny canvas pieces collaged together. Once you know Mori’s inspiration for her art, you know they mean to exude all the minute individual elements forging together; resulting in everything that there is in the world.
Mori was recently featured on “Prudential’s Masterpiece of Love – Regeneration” as she creates a work in the memory of a young widow’s husband. In the episode, Mori talks about loss and the way in which she can relate to the young woman because while she has not lost a husband, she did have a miscarriage and remarks that she felt like part of herself died at that moment. For her, painting was an act of therapy and an attempt at recovery after the devastating event. Mori also expresses the soul’s need and will to recover, if only we allow it to do so. All of this comes to the forefront in her work, Regeneration.