January 21 – February 21, 2020


間 (Ma)



Ki Smith Gallery is thrilled to announce 間 (Ma), new works by Sono Kuwayama. This will mark the artist’s inaugural solo exhibition.


“Ma” or 間 is a common Japanese word with no specific English equivalent. It can be universally understood as a pause. It is an absence that defines a space, the interior of a bowl. “Ma” is more of an interlude than it is a chasm. One’s understanding of “ma” is driven by her shifting perception as she becomes acquainted with a given setting.


Kuwayama wants to engage this term in a new body of work that includes plaster paintings and site-specific installation of varying mediums. Non-toxic materiality is central to her practice, and nearly every element of her work is handmade: she forages berries or crushes charcoal for pigment, paints with a milk compound, can name the sheep from which she produces her own yarn. Her mindful harnessing of mediums connects Kuwayama’s artistic practice to all other realms of her days. Her creative decisions, for example, affect the world her children inhabit, the world we all inhabit. She expressed that she works through “a process of compression and expansion” where “life spills into art and art spills into life.” 


This tendency to scrap compartmentalization is intentional. Kuwayama operates without regard for linear or received narratives often visible in art history. The work she’s installed in the gallery, therefore, develops and commands white walls as well as peculiar structural elements in order to highlight in-between spaces. 間 (Ma) summons us into these interstitial moments of art, so that we challenge our senses to engage with the real as much as the imagined, the created and the approaching.


Please join us in the gallery for the opening reception of 間 (Ma) on Saturday, February 1st, from 6:00–10:00 p.m. 


To schedule a press preview, please contact Claire Foussard, claire@kismithgallery.com

SONO KUWAYAMA (b. 1963) is a visual artist working with installation through painting, sculpture and video. She finds fluidity in working between various disciplines that allows her the freedom to create without limitations. The daughter of artists Tadaaki Kuwayama and Rakuko Naito, Kuwayama spent her life immersed in the art world and grew up in the NYC art scene, working as an artist assistant to Tadaaki Kuwayama and later, Donald Sultan. After attending Yale University’s summer painting program she went on to receive her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1990, where she studied with working artists Jackie Windsor and Judy Pfaff, among others. Her work on films about artists include Forrest Bess: Key to the Riddle, A Night at the Poet’s Cafe, and an interview with Agnes Martin.