Mayumi Sarai: Ring Cycle


Japanese-born artist Mayumi Sarai draws inspiration from organic structures and other natural processes to create her carved wooden sculptures. Using traditional Japanese hand tools, Sarai meticulously handcrafts individual elements which are incorporated into larger constructions. An abundance of rough-hewn and faceted spheres bind together and morph into shapes that resemble cellular formations, atoms and DNA strands. Other recurring forms are bowl-like shapes which, when clustered together, may reference groupings of attached domestic vessels, colonies of fungi or even imagined types of flora.

In the UMMA exhibition, the artist creates a dynamic dialog between singular floor-based works and an array of hanging sculptures. A constellation of small works form a wall installation that encompasses an expanse of gallery wall. These alluring sculptures resemble starbursts or organisms; they may be humorous representations from both macro and micro worlds. Three intertwined rings, composed of bead-like strands of blond wood, rise up from the floor while another hangs in proximity. Each of the repetitive forms bears her carefully chiseled marks and reflects the meditative nature of the artist’s creative process. Sarai’s sculptures reflect what is most elemental. Using several types of found wood, the artist offers a prolonged contemplation of our essential and spiritual connection to the natural world.

Sarai received a BFA from Nihon University College of Art in Tokyo. She moved to New York City in 1991 and studied at the New York Studio School. Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions including the Dallas Museum of Art; Morris Museum of Art, Morristown, NJ; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ; and the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC. She is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the George & Helen Segal Foundation grants.

Botanical Mask #2 , 2009
Courtesy of the artist and Lohin Geduld Gallery, NYC