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Thomas Matsuda

2017 Open Studio Fellow


2’ 3” x 26’ 3” x 26’ 3”
Fire, Water, Earth, Wood, Metal

Artist Statement
Harmony and balance. The union of opposites. Water, Fire, Wood, Earth, and Metal. The Five Elemental Energies represent the cyclic changes of nature which regulate life on earth. Created in Minnesota, which originated from the Dakota words, clear water reflecting the clouds.

One ocean,
One land
One people
Oneness in one life

Poem by Thomas LaBlanc
Sound my James Everest
Franconia Sculpture Park Schafer, MN 9/24-30/17

Fire, water, earth, wood, and metal are the five elements in eastern culture. I use these natural elements in my work, often burning wood. Each time, my work evolves with the situation, site, inspiration, and materials. I have created installations often with performance components at many venues. I have collaborated with dance troupes, musicians, Buddhist monks, and Native Americans. I deal with the environment, natural and human, addressing environmental issues, cultural relationships, and the integration of art culture, and spirituality.

Charred wood and blackened earth conjure up ideas of life, death, and rebirth, as well as the burning away of illusions and desires. Yet it can also be seen as a reminder of war, destruction of the earth, corruption within ourselves, and the close relationship between purification and destruction.

…sacred writing speaks the word of the Great Spirit, what shall we bring forth,
purification or destruction?
Hopi Prophecy

Thomas Matsuda

Born: Stamford, CT, 1956
Resides: Leverett, MA

• MFA, UMass Amherst, 1979
• BFA, Pratt Institute, 1999

Selected Exhibitions
• Solo Exhibition. Babson College, 2014
• Choice, Exit Art, NYC, 2002
• Solo Exhibition, Gallery Kaze, Tokyo, Japan, 1991

Selected Collections
• Pedvale Open-Air Art Museum, Latvia
• Grafton Peace Pagoda, NY
• Smith College, MA

Selected Awards
• Adolph and Ester Gottlieb Foundation Grant, 2004
• Japan Foundation Grant, 2008
• US Embassy Grant, 2011

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