Art in Distress

"Geometrics" by Mario Tauchi, one of the Tobin Ohashi Gallery's artists

Bob Tobin, an art blogger for The Diplomat and expat/Gallery owner in Tokyo, wrote a poignant meditation on art’s place in our lives when our lives fall apart. The tragedy in Japan is almost unspeakable: over 7,000 people have died and even more are still missing. Along with the devastating loss of life, countless Japanese citizens have lost their homes and livelihoods. It stands to reason, of course, that Japanese art and culture will also suffer. That art, though, can stand for hope amidst the damage. Writes Tobin:

When I look at the art in the gallery and in our home, I’m now even more aware of the power of art and its ability to soothe, comfort and heal us. Art has the potential to bring us to another world and help us forget what may be troubling us. Our troubles and worries don’t go away, but we can temporarily escape from them and restore our energy.

In times of great distress, I think our relationship with art boils down to to a more primitive level – a phase that we too often forget in favor of academic and critical interaction. This initial love and wonder for art is what can help us understand tragedy, buoy our happiness, and reinforce our relationships.

We must also not forget during this time that Japan has rich and beautiful culture. The Tobin Ohashi Gallery, for example, highlights young artists. By supporting Japan and helping in whatever ways possible, my hope is that these artists can continue to thrive in and contribute to such a culture.

How to Help:

Medecins Sans Frontieres

American Red Cross


Salvation Army


Signalnoise Store’s beautiful Help Japan poster (below)

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3 Responses to Art in Distress

  1. Cynthia says:

    The fractured ability or shrouded concealment of emotions is a result of not being who we really are out of fear of whatever it is that we fear.
    What we fear renders us inept to fully express own and embrace our emotions.
    Art has the transcendental quality within any viewer to literally flash before their very retinas their true emotional response to a visual stimulus.
    “it is what it is”, whether we choose to own it or not ; It ( our real emotional self ) is right there with us before our mind’s eye appropriately called the retina.
    The real issue of our ” Real Emotions” is now what are we going to do with them?
    Fear them?
    Stuff them?
    Deny them?
    Act on them ?
    Admit and assimilate them?
    The questions are endless however we are going to do something at the point art has awakened us to ourselves!
    If the awakening is controversial most of us retreat into our dark fortresses of hidden repression to false protection.
    If the emotional reaction is sexual most will stand frozen, blank and unaffected to the immediate onlooking crowd as to not arouse suspicion that one could be so honestly moved.
    Many emotions are held within ” the not too visceral ” strokes, blobs, swashes and graphite layers within most any given art work.
    When one feels and sees art usher out the “Real Emotions” out of the beautiful and deep dark caverns of hidden repression often it is hard for us to embrace the darkness that resides next to the light- that is emotional synergy- we are and can not be benevolent- only ” The One” can do that.
    Art affords us the opportunity to open the door to who we are in a way we can endure it, to embrace who you are and set the fear aside to see what is “Real”.
    Our retinas really do see however the inorganic proclivities due to all the cultural emotional pesticides ” Kill our connections to our “Real Emotions” so quickly that it literally takes medication to bring them forth so they can be dealt with and assimilated within to form the Whole Person.

    Love this Website!

  2. Thank you so much. I just discovered this. I really appreciate the mention. BT

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