West meets East at the Denver Botanic Gardens through this weekend
For much of this year, the Denver Botanic Gardens has been an intersection for Asian and American culture. It began with the Kizuna: West Meets East outdoor exhibit, for which bamboo specialists Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik created several site-specific sculptures. They were up in time for the June opening of the Gardens' Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion, which honors the former Denver Post editor and 2007 Civil Rights Award winner. Next to the pavilion the Gardens constructed an authentic Japanese tea house in which to perform traditional tea ceremonies, which complements the facility's already renowned Japanese garden.
"Foreign and Domestic" by Margaret Kasahara.
And inside, the Gardens has hosted two shows that tie to the West meets East theme. But time is running out for this harmonic convergence.
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Lisa Eldred, director of exhibitions, says the Kizuna works fit in perfectly with Colorado's seasonal climate. "Not only is it a natural material, you're able to see how that natural material reacts to changing seasons," she explains. "When Tetsunori Kawana's installations first went in, there was this fabulous outer layer of green on the bamboo and a yellowish inside. So the twisting forms were two-toned, if you will. Then, within short order and exposure to the sun and dry climate here in Colorado, it became this wonderful golden color. So I think it's been a great way to see how nature and art play together within the natural environment."
Scott Dressel-Martin "Culture Current: Passages" by Tetsunori Kawana.
Talasnik's "Floating World Installation" is "made up of many components and some of them have been tethered all summer," she adds, "so when there's a slight wind, they move. There is this interactive environment that I think provides a unique experience to the visitors here."
But they'll want to visit soon: The majory if the sculptures will be taken down on November 4, after the show ends this Sunday. However, some will stick around until January, Eldred says, "because they have held up and will look great in snow and lights at night."
The Gardens generally plans indoor shows that work well with any outside exhibits. To go with Kizuna, the Gardens first featured Kenichi Nagakura's unconventional bamboo basket-weaving in Fluid Duality.
Scott Dressel-Martin "The Shape of Fundamental Energy II" by Tetsunori Kawana.