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12" x 12"

Oil on traditional Japanese shikishi board


Print on paper

12" x 12"

Edition of 10

Signed, and numbered


  • Bondage of Costume

     I started this work while living in Tokyo, interrogating the female experience observed and experienced in the city. The single word I felt best described the culture of Japan was "contradiction". I included writings and research on this in my book Tokyo Grafitti, published in 2017. The complex culture exists in a tenuous balance, and seems to teeter between ancient tradition, irreverence, and over-consumption.

    I became occupied with the lack of acknowledgment — or perhaps deliberate invisibility — of the contradictions regarding females. I chose to highlight the duality of femininity, strength vs. fragility, freedom vs. enslavement, and symbol vs. human. Costuming became a physical meditation for me on the mutation of our roles in society. Whether in the traditional kimono, schoolgirl uniform, or the ropes of a Shibari master, these figures are restricted and ideas or archetypes are projected upon them. The paintings eventually dissolved the figures altogether, demonstrating the power of the costume alone.

    'In Japanese, “Shibari” simply means “to tie”. The contemporary meaning of Shibari describes an ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage. The origin of Shibari comes from Hojo-Jutsu, the martial art of restraining captives. In Japan, from 1400 to 1700, while the local police and Samurai used Hojo-jutsu as a form of imprisonment and torture, the honor of these ancient Samurai warriors required them to treat their prisoners well. So, they used different techniques to tie their prisoners, showing the honor and status of their captured prisoner.' (

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