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June 09, 1978 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-06-09

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Page 8-Friday, June 9, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Local exhibit features kimonos

By KAREN BORNSTEIN
Entering a room which is empty, with
the exception of eleven kimonos and a
variety of porcelain, one thinks,
"Should I remove my shoes? Am I
about to embark upon a Japanese tea
ceremony of some sort?" Not exactly.
At the Alice Simsar Gallery, the color-
ful kimonos that hang individually
against the white gallery walls, and the
traditional porcelain pieces, are multi-
functional, but exhibited as beautiful
art objects.
The eleven kimonos are by Dorthea
Suino, an Ann Arbor artist who
michiganDAILY
ats]
received both her B.S. and M.A. from
the University of Michigan. Suino has
worked in both painting and prin-
tmaking, exhibiting her work in
numerous shows including those at the
Grand Rapids Art Museum, the
Saginaw Art Museum and the Detroit
Institute of Arts.
IN THIS exhibit, Suino demonstrates
that the kimono can be more than a
Japanese style robe, perfect for
lounging in on a Sunday morning. The
eleven kimonos that hang from dark
brown bamboo rods are to be con-
sidered as hanging prints, and are con-
ceived of as one work.
Although from a distance they
resemble silk, Suino actually creates
her striking kimonos from hand-dyed
cotton muslin, silk screening different
patterns onto the dyed cloth. Says
gallery attendant Kathleen Nugent,
"She does all the necessary sewing by
hand, taking an extremely happy and
positive approach toward her works."
And this happy or joyful quality

seems to sing out to the viewer from
every kimono. Despite Suino's restric-
tion to four basic patterns, her various
color combinations create distinct, yet
consistently optimistic moods for each
robe. The rich browns and luscious
blues evoke a sense of royalty, while the
hot pink against jet black seems to echo
a definite Japanese flavor.
BUT SUINO isn't thinking in terms of
the Japanese tradition, nor does she
wish to compete with it. She has
borrowed the form of the kimono for
design reasons, and with close and
careful inspection, each robe slowly
reveals all of its complexities.
For example, lengths and widths of
sleeves differ slightly on each kimono,
creating a subtle rhythmical movement
as the eye flows from one vivid pattern
to the next. There are also different
degrees of the exposed colored linings
which are dramatically or
mysteriously revealed. Placement of
patterns on the backs of the kimonos
also vary with each individual work.
Suino's kimonos, so fresh and in-
novative, are exquisite robes, but much
more. They are beautiful prints that
can be hung from the wall, and with the
additional play of shadows and folds,
they become lovely sculptures as well.
Although they're complete in them-
selves, the kimonos enhance and are
enhanced by the elegant porcelains
they surround within the gallery.
THESE HIGHLY refined porcelain
pieces are done by Hiroka Oba In-
signer, a native of Tokyo, Japan, and
graduate of the Art School of the
Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit.
Insigner was employed in the Interior
Design Department of Minoru
Yamasaki and Associates. Her work
has been the focus of one-woman
exhibitions at Hanamura Gallery and
America House, as well as-included in
group exhibitions at the Detroit In-
stitute of Arts.
The porcelains, which include
covered jars, bowls, vases, open plates
and cups, are classical in their purity

and simplicity. They reveal Insinger's
continual exploration of the
possibilities that exist within
traditional forms.
Insinger restricts the colors she
glazes these ceramic pieces with to
deep browns, blues, blacks and pure
whites. These glazes are handled with
subtlety, creating luminous color, and a
heightened sense of elegance.
SOME GLAZES are more complex
than others, as Insinger combines her
shimmering blacks, browns and
touches of cream to create a bowl
reminiscent of shining tigers-eye
jewels. In one case, she has even

scraped away some of the glaze around
a bowl's inner rim, leaving traces of
relief and Japanese calligraphy.
Insinger reveals her delicate inter-
pretation of a classical form
remarkably, by occasionally adding
drops and drizzles of glaze or brushed
floral ornaments, sensitively endowing
her works with the spontaneity of
Japanese art. These porcelains are so
awesome and effective in their sim-
plicity and beauty, you may just feel
compelled to remove your shoes, and
fill them with tea after all.
In Japan, the 'average household
subscribes to two daily newspapers.

RECORDSI

The ParkeriIa
Graham Parker
and the Rumour
Mercury SRM-2-.OO
Oh for the naive days, when sooner or
later one didn't have to record that de
riguer live album. The best of them are
recorded with more than just some
vague feeling that it would be a timely,
profitable thing to do: they herald
something new, or throw everything
down on the table for one last-ditch ef-
fort.
There are a few models I think of for
the quintessential live album. The
Velvet Underground: 1969 caught this
group's arid apocalypse fabulously,
and Metallic K.O. literally captured
Iggy (the story is that somebody
smuggled a tape recorder in, which
would explain the bathtub quality of the
recording) playing life-and-death
games with the audience. And there are
albums like After the Flood, Live
Bullet, or Get Yer Ya Yas Out, which
exclaim a newly-found (or reclaimed)
stunning emotionalism.
BUT GRAHAM Parker and the
Rumour's The Parkerilla shares few
traits with these landmarks. The songs
are sliced out of recordings made on
many different nights, giving the
record a lack of focus. Instead of
presenting any new tracks, or
displaying any surprises in the live
arrangements, Parker is content to
play what he seems to consider the
band's best tunes. Exercising his own
judgement of his producer's, he has left
out some great music, and included
some poorer choices.
More than anything else, The
Parkerilla appears to be a financial en-

deavor. Why else would there be two
versions - one done live and one in the
studio - of "Don't Ask Me Questions?"
Indeed, why does the studio recording
of "Questions," not even four minutes
in length, take up the entire fourth side?
Have these people not heard of the vinyl
shortage?
PRESENTLY, Graham Parker must
be a somewhat frustrated singer. He
has recorded two of the best albums of
the 1970's - Howlin' Wind and Heat
Treatment. Although his third and most
recent album, Stick To Me, fell off the
mark, the three are of a kind: at their
frequent best, they display a
remarkable intensity of singing, a
powerful rage born out in concert, often
ferocious lyrics, and tightly arranged
and executed songs drawn heavily from
rhythm and blues. He is one of the few
white rockers that can make a reggae
tune convincing - and Parker can
write dynamic ones.
But with all the accolades, Parker's
records are not selling. He has in many
ways achieved what he set out to do
when he decided - as a failure in
school, part-time musician and full-
time British service station attendant
- that he would reach for something
more. But, he is also realizing
something. As written in his song "Help
Me Shake It" (I'm so hungry/I want to
cry/my belly's full/but my soul's run
dry), one can still feel wanting, even
when he thought he would be satisfied.
Right now, Parker is a frightened man.
IT SHOWS on The Parkerilla. The
Rumour plays much as they do on
record, but with more fire- they back
up Parker tightly, taking economic
solos, and making the notes count.
Parker, however, would only receive a
"C" on this record. The soulfulness he
instills in "The Heat in Harlem" is of-
fset by the worthless lyrics. His bark on
"Back to School days" is cheapened by
the laconic "Watch the Moon Come
Down." And soon.
As someone once said, a good pop ar-
tist makes even his failures interesting.
Indeed, this album is a bit of a study in
how lack of success and audience affect
an artist. But that does not make it an
entertaining album, for anyone who
knows of Parker has heard much better
before. Buy the first two.
R. J. Smith

the Alice Simsar Gallery through June 30.

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