Painting at 2100°

The compositions are free-form swathes of burned paper, from faint wisps and tawny squiggles to chocolate splotches and bold, sweeping curves. Sometimes they look like the tail end of lightening, with the unpredictable snap and recoil of a well-thrown whip; other times they’re as light as a tendril of smoke, buffeted into eddies by a breeze through the window.

Etsuko Ichikawa dances, and paints with fire. With music pouring into her ears, she works, in her words, “kind of underwater.” She sweeps a rod capped with a molten glob of glass over a sheet of white paper, the orange liquid stretching and swirling and leaving luscious trails in its wake; she presses blown bubbles into the surface until they collapse and charcoal seeps from the edges. The resulting textures might be wrought from the hairs of a paintbrush, but here they are more physically alive than any material applied to canvas.

[Photo from Art Culture]

You must watch the breathtakingly beautiful video at The Anthropologist. I am in awe — there is so much beauty not only in the final piece but also in the dance of creation. I get this incredible sense of time flowing through the movement as the lines grow darker with prolonged exposure, the angle of the arcs determined by the speed of Etsuko’s rotation, and finally, the ephemeral quality of what could be construed as a by-product of another process presented as its own organic being.

Of her Deai series [Japanese for “encounter”], Etsuko says: “Meeting someone, seeing some event, hearing a piece of music – these encounters are fleeting moments, but sometimes the impressions of these moments take on their own lives.”

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