January-February 2016 Artist in Residence
Sayaka Ganz was born in Yokohama, Japan and grew up living in Japan, Brazil, and Hong Kong. Currently she teaches design and drawing courses at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).
Using reclaimed plastic objects as materials, Sayaka’s recent sculptures depict animals in motion with rich colors and energy. Her recent exhibitions include: “Danze Della Natura” – solo exhibition at the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy, and “Feng Shui ~ Wind and Water” – solo exhibition in the Isle Gallery, Isle of Man. Her recent commissions include a series of four marine life sculptures for the Monerey Bay Aquarium in California and a permanent installation depicting an underwater scene with right whale and various schools of fish in the atrium of the Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral, Florida.
“I grew up with Shinto animist belief that all things in the world have spirits. Thus, when I see discarded items on the street or thrift store shelves, I feel a deep sadness for them and I am moved to make these abandoned objects happy. My sympathy goes out equally to all discarded objects regardless of materials, but my current working material of choice is plastic. I use mostly common household items to create animal forms with a sense of movement and self-awareness. I use plastics because of the variety of curvilinear forms and colors available. I manipulate and assemble them together as brush strokes to create an effect similar to a Van Gogh painting in three dimensions.
One of the important tasks for artists of our time is to bring more of the natural world back into people’s lives, especially in urban areas. When we encounter the true wonders of nature, the beauty we behold transcends our intellects and reaches directly to our hearts. I desire a similar response from viewers of my work; to provoke a re-examination of our relationship to the natural world.
My work is also about perceiving harmony, even in situations that appear chaotic from the inside. When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes and items being held on only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction. Similarly, it is important to gain perspective by stepping back from current problems and look at the larger picture. Then one can perceive the beauty and patterns that exist. I tend to be very analytical about problems, but when I look too hard and closely at the details, all I see are gaps and differences of opinions. When I step back, I can see that although we may approach the problem from different angles, we often have larger goals in common.”