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Kanani Miyamoto’s ‘The In-between’

A new kind of print installation at Feast Arts Center

Detail of Kanani Miyamoto’s ‘The In-Between’. Photo credit: Alec Clayton

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Currently on view at Feast Arts Center is an installation called The In-Between by Kanani Miyamoto. It is an installation of printed images that is nigh on impossible to describe because to the best of my knowledge it is a print process that's seldom if ever before been done. According to the Feast website, "Miyamoto pushes the standards of printmaking in the form of large-scale mixed-media original prints and installations. She combines copper plate etchings with screen prints and wooden block prints to create rich and unique installations." What ends up on the walls are images that look for all the world like paintings executed directly on the walls -- but unlike mural paintings, they can be removed without doing damage to the images or to the wall and installed again on other walls or in other configurations. (I would love to see Miyamoto come into the gallery weekly or even daily and remove the images and rearrange them.)

Also printed and mounted on the wall, presumably by Miyamoto, is a statement describing "the in-between" as "a mysterious place maybe a place of tension, maybe a place to create new stories. A place between now and the next thing." That description would certainly hold true if Miyamoto did in fact change the work on display.

Also printed on the wall is a quote from filmmaker Sabaah Folayan: "I'm tired of seeing pictures of men with flowers and the title is Redefining Masculinity. Boy, if you don't put that bouquet down and start demonstrating emotional respect, communication skills, and support for women." These statements are printed in all capital letters and are quoted here with punctuation transcribed verbatim.  

How this relates to the printed murals on display is left to the viewer to interpret.

The printed images are of flowers and vines with heavy, snake-like tendrils that bend around corners and expand onto the ceiling. Could this be called "redefining masculinity?" Perhaps. The heaviness of the vines could perhaps be viewed as masculine and aggressive, but I will not make that assessment.

It looks like paint, but it's not. The edges of leaves and vines appear hard and precise as do the lines. The leaves and flowers look like watercolor paint, and the patterns on the vines look like snakeskin. Only upon close -- very close -- inspection does it become clear that what looks like flat areas of color is actually transparent, and other forms, shapes and colors can be seen below the surface as if things seen through colored glass.

The images are sensual, and there is much more to them than appears at first glance. They can be easily dismissed as decoration, but should not be.

This exhibition is part of a yearlong project in partnership with yehaw celebrating indigenous artists in cities across the Puget Sound area. For more information of yeehaw, go to

Kanani Miyamoto's The In-Between,Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and by appointment, through Jan. 11, Feast Arts Center, 1402 S. 11th St., Tacoma,

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