The innumerable shades of grey within the material has always transfixed me. I think it is quite elegant and refined. The steel is a cornerstone of strength and permanence and yet all things are transitory. It’s really interesting to get it to go in these unexpected ways.
Miya Ando is a multi award-winning American post-minimalist artist. The foundation of her practice—strongly focused on painting and sculpture—is the transformation of surfaces, articulating themes of contradiction, and juxtaposition of ideas. Ando’s work with steel, and in particular her steel canvas collection is perhaps her most notable and distinguishable.
Influenced by the redwoods in Santa Cruz and the simple, reductionist setting of the Buddhist temple in Japan, where she was raised, Ando’s paintings typically consist of steel, patina, pigment, and automotive lacquer, applying techniques to alter the chemical properties of materials, transforming pieces into subtle, light-reflective gradations of colour and texture.
One of the notable aspects of Ando’s work is this combination of traditional techniques of her ancestry and modern industrial technology. Transforming sheets of burnished steel and anodised aluminium into ephemeral abstractions, along an almost meditative daily repetition of techniques until they reach the simplest form of her concept.
In this process, Ando explores the duality of metal and its ability to convey strength and permanence, yet in the same instance absorb shifting colour and capture the fleetingness of light. This acts as a reminder to the viewer of the transitory nature of all things in life with subtle gradations of colour that evoke ethereal, minimalist landscapes and abstracted metallic horizons—like a transition from the industrial to the natural world.
Finding that difficult balance between man-made and natural is what makes Ando’s work so mystic and unique, finding an extraordinary harmony in the result that does not leave you indifferent.