A descendant of Bizen sword makers, New York-based artist Miya Ando spent her childhood among Buddhist priests in a temple in Okayama, Japan, and later, in California. Best known for her sublime metal paintings, Ando combines the traditional techniques of her ancestry with modern industrial technology, skillfully transforming sheets of metal into ephemeral, abstract paintings suffused with color.
The focus of Ando’s artistic practice is the intrinsic connection between the human sphere and the natural world. “My interest is in creating work that allows viewers to experience a relationship to nature and to be truly in the moment as they encounter the transitory qualities of light,” Ando says. “I want to draw people into a slowed-down environment with work that is experiential and employs the visual vocabulary of natural phenomena and transformation.”
Transformation—both in the physical and the metaphysical sense—is the unifying element in all of Ando’s work. To produce the light-reflecting gradients on her metal paintings, Ando applies heat, sandpaper, grinders, acid and patinas to the metal canvases, irrevocably altering the material’s chemical properties. It’s by an almost meditative daily repetition of these
techniques that Ando is able to subtract, reduce and distill her concept until it reaches its simplest form. The resulting works explore the duality of metal and its ability to convey strength and permanence, yet in the same instance, capture the fleetingness of light and the transitory nature of all things.
Miya Ando has a Bachelor of Arts degree in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and attended Yale University to study Buddhist iconography and imagery. She apprenticed with the master metalsmith Hattori Studio in Japan, followed by a residency at Northern California’s Public Art Academy. Her work has been shown worldwide, including at the de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, California; in a show curated by Nat Trotman of the Guggenheim Museum; and in an exhibition at the Queens Museum, New York. In 2015, a large-scale installation, Emptiness the Sky (Shou-Sugi-Ban), was included in Frontiers Reimagined, a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale.
Miya Ando has produced numerous public commissions, most notably a thirty-foot-tall sculpture in London built from World Trade Center steel to mark the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, for which she was recently nominated for a DARC Award in Best Light Art Installation. Awards include the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, 2012.
Born in Los Angeles, 1973 | Lives and works in New York