Dotaku Transmutation 1988-1989

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The Dotaku Transmutation Series consists of large, rather flat dark sculptural hand built ceramic forms. I began developing these forms during an extended stay in Japan in 1986. These works, inspired by the mysterious bronze bell-shaped objects (Dotaku) , were found in Japan during the first and second centuries AC. Dotaku vary greatly in height from a few inches to approximately four feet. Some of them are embellished with slightly raised, simple linear designs (chased designs) that may include stick-like figures and geometric motifs. Other ones rely on textural effects and geometric patterns, as well as on flat projecting geometric circular forms attached the sides of a bell shape, for decoration.

The Dotaku Transmutation Series: Dotaku Shrine is composed of seven (an ideal number for Japanese people) Dotaku forms placed in a straight line on an oblong oval of white raked sand, which provides a contrasting, curved continuum around the objects. The subtly textured surfaces and undulating flat edges of each Dotaku are fabricated and installed so that each appears as an echo of another. The repetitious contours of the black lustrous forms, coupled with an amazing sight line through the arches, pulls one's eyes in, down, around, out and back along the curved furrows of the raked sand in a continuing cycle. This installation, with the black ceramic dotaku combined with the patterned sand is reminiscent of the beautiful dry, Zen gardens located in Kyoto, Japan. As with those lovely gardens, my Dotaku Shrine becomes more than the sum of its parts, creating an environment of repose and calmness that is conducive to introspection and meditation.