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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  mike page on Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:26 am

Mark
Many thanks for your very kind comments. They are important to me.

Best Regards

Mike

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Space

Post  Jeremy on Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:22 am

Hi Mike,
Having only seen this tree in pictures, I have to say it doesn't photograph as well as the articles written about it suggest.
Excepting it has hidden merits, I would like to see it given more space within the display. Creating a feeling of openess, depth and stillness that this tree deserves.
Then again in the real world, alcove space is a challenge for show organisers worldwide.

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Re: Formal Display

Post  Geof on Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:30 pm

Hello All,
When we view bonsai we use important parts our eyes! To my eye the scroll is to big and needs to move to the left a bit to leave space between the tree and the scroll. I agree with Will the accent could come forward. I just attended a critque with Isao Omachi and Hideko as translator. Omachi said everthing supports the tree. So I don't understand how the scroll should be the primary focus in a BONSAI display. It is my understanding a tokonoma is a sacred place in a Japanese home. Mike is creating this on a table so he must follow that criteria.
I am a Nick Lenz student and Nick is a master of naturalistic trees. Penelope has been discussed many times and when Nick saw her he thought she needed an umbrella. That is what the tree represents.
I think in America we need to decide what we are going to call what we are doing. Bonsai is Japanese so one should follow those rules. I read online Peter Warren stated "if you are happy creating miniature trees that look pretty then go ahead". I am happy creating miniature trees that look pretty. I also can follow the "rules" and create bonsai. Isao Omachi said Japan created bonsai which is really not the case. China created Penjing or Penzai and the Japanese copied them added more rules and called it bonsai. Chinese embrace nature and use penjing to create a feeling. The Japanese feel they need to perfect nature.
A tree in nature follows no rules.
Just my two cents,
Geof

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  Carolee on Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:53 am

Geof thanks for your comments.

I am happy creating miniature trees that look pretty.
This is what I do. I know it is unlikely I'll have a winning exhibition tree, and that is okay.

I think in America we need to decide what we are going to call what we are doing.

In the USA we have a history of deconstruction and reconstruction: pizza, tacos, holidays, etc. This is evidenced in bonsai by Nick Lenz s Mike Page (a different display), Chris Thomas' "AVALON DREAMS" and others. I doubt we will come up with a good word for it though. We can't even agree whether it is art or not. Rolling Eyes

What bonsai means to some is very different from what it means to others (mallsai vs Goshin). The site 'The Art of Bonsai' is a level of practice and conceptualization far beyond what I do, but I enjoy reading and thinking about the site's content.

Luckily we can do what we do, learn as we go along, accept or throw out the various 'rules', and enjoy our own process as well as the creations of others. I like the 'rebellion' in the work of Nick Lenz, the naturalness of Walter Pall, the creations of Qingquan Zhao (Penjing), the spiritual nature of Goshin, and I can go on and on. In the end, it really is what an individual likes, no matter what it is called.

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:06 am

Geof wrote:Hello All,
When we view bonsai we use important parts our eyes! To my eye the scroll is to big and needs to move to the left a bit to leave space between the tree and the scroll. I agree with Will the accent could come forward. I just attended a critque with Isao Omachi and Hideko as translator. Omachi said everthing supports the tree. So I don't understand how the scroll should be the primary focus in a BONSAI display. It is my understanding a tokonoma is a sacred place in a Japanese home. Mike is creating this on a table so he must follow that criteria.
I am a Nick Lenz student and Nick is a master of naturalistic trees. Penelope has been discussed many times and when Nick saw her he thought she needed an umbrella. That is what the tree represents.
I think in America we need to decide what we are going to call what we are doing. Bonsai is Japanese so one should follow those rules. I read online Peter Warren stated "if you are happy creating miniature trees that look pretty then go ahead". I am happy creating miniature trees that look pretty. I also can follow the "rules" and create bonsai. Isao Omachi said Japan created bonsai which is really not the case. China created Penjing or Penzai and the Japanese copied them added more rules and called it bonsai. Chinese embrace nature and use penjing to create a feeling. The Japanese feel they need to perfect nature.
A tree in nature follows no rules.
Just my two cents,
Geof
Hi Geof,

I'd like to add a few pennies to your thoughts. Very Happy

I don't know about you, but when I view something I use all parts of my eye, and most seem pretty important to me What a Face cyclops

Bonsai is a Japanese word adopted into the English lexicon, but that doesn't mean artists that do bonsai must follow "those rules." First off, I think you'd be hard pressed to find the "Japanese bonsai rules" codified in any Japanese legal code, or book of regulations. Bonsai guidelines for the most part have a basis in artistic design and plant physiology and not human culture. Second, the etymology of a word really is not its definition nor does it necessarily have to dictate how the word is used. There are thousands of English words that have departed in meaning from their origins.

The Japanese penchant for establishing schools of thought on how to display a bonsai tree do not reflect a monolithic point of view. There is divergence in Japan on what is a good display. Rules about birds pointing in one direction and where an accent goes on a table reflect the idiosyncratic preferences of some. For those that want to debate the merits of which way the birds fly on a scroll, have at it. You can't be wrong either way as it is totally subjective. To me, its like the Donald Sutherland, Professor Jennings character and Tom Hulce, Pinto, in the movie "Animal House" smoking weed and discussing how each atom can have its own universe which in turns has atoms of its own universe ad infinitum. Its moderately curious at first, but quickly grows stale and insignificant. Every culture has its merits and the real challenge to me is how to grow beyond the tokonoma.


Last edited by Rob Kempinski on Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  darky on Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:46 am

Shin Gyo So Tokonoma display.

Formal Shin, is one of austere composition rigid

Gyo, informal free but not exaggerated.

So casual style flexible

What I see in this display is definitely not formal. It has a Bunjingi, geese flying and grasses. Nothing formal here.

We have a So display.
Just my opinion Darky

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  fiona on Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:14 am

Rob Kempinski wrote: Every culture has its merits and the real challenge to me is how to grow beyond the tokonoma.

I believe that this thread has shown that if we want to display a "classic Japanese tokonama" then we use the conventions (not rules) of that genre. I do however quite agree with Rob's comment above, as long as the emphasis is on the word "grow". Is it not often the case that dispensing with the "Japanese" style often throws up (often petty minded) new "rules" all of its own? An example of this would be what is going on in Scotland and in the UK as a whole where the display side is split between the more classic Japanese style displays (favoured by Newstead, the BSA annual show, Best of British and a significant number of the club shows) and the flower show scene. There are two parts to this latter athough both fall within the competitive element of these shows: the first is the "exhibit" where around 8 bonsai are displayed on a long table - often in two tiers with each tree on some sort of a pedestal which is uniform in design although they may vary in size. Not a scroll or bonsai table or acent plant is in sight. The judging of these Exhibits is usually done either directly through or in accordance with the Royal Horticultural Society (not bonsai experts for the most part) and this organisation has its own display rules and judging criteria that are far removed from those used at the bonsai exhibitions we are familiar with. The other part of this scene is the open (i.e public) competition where people enter their trees into a number of different "classes" e.g. shohin/mame, deciduous, evergreen, flowering. Trees are simply placed on the available table space in the appropriate class. The merits of individual trees can get completely lost in amongst all the rest (A case of not being able to see the wood for the trees?)and if there are a lot of trees then the overall effect can be of a massive bonsai car boot sale. And this is what some 10K plus members of the public is told is bonsai display.

A long way round the main point which is any alternative display must move the art (or craft, hobby or whatever you want to call it/take is as) forward. Simply just not doing a tokonoma is not in itself the solution, especially if the end result is, as in my opinion happens for the most part in the UK garden show scene, inferior. Nor is substituting one set of "rules" for another. So what are we left with? Artists as a breed like to experiment and why should they not? Nick Lenz's work as depicted in this very thread breaks new ground, Chris Thomas's Avalon Dream broke the mould, so do the display contest entries in the Spirit 09 Indonesia thread. Perhaps it should be up to show organisers to set the framework for they style they want in their shows. It would be good to see space put aside for more innovative displays at every show. Is that the way ahead for the bulk of us?

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Re: Formal Display

Post  Geof on Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:52 am

I agree with Rob and Fiona, but if we are going to break new ground and do things differently why judge an American bonsai show to Japanese standards?
Why judge at all. Why not just show. I think Mike's tree is different and very similar to what inspired him to make it that way. Why not make a Literati tree look like ones seen in Literati scrolls and paintings they are beautiful. To be different is a good thing. Otherwise we would have many trees that look the same.
Geof Very Happy

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  Emil Brannstrom on Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:10 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:Bonsai guidelines for the most part have a basis in artistic design and plant physiology and not human culture.

Artistic guidelines are a product of culture.

Regards
Emil

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  Wm Tom Davis on Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:15 pm

Emil Brannstrom wrote:Artistic guidelines are a product of culture.

Artistic guidelines are a product of nature and of the artist, especially when dealing with living things like trees.
Walter Pall is indeed a wonderful artist and how he defines his art form is of his own doing and not from a culture.
Artistic license is that of the artist and not the culture. It is people who wish to immolate the artist's works who follow rules and such, much like chefs who have recipes. To say that it is a product of culture could mean that all artists who are Mongolian produce only Mongolian art. Not so... In all art forms, what we are looking at is reflected light to our eyes. This light changes how it is that we see what it is that we are viewing. In essence, all artists are manipulators of light that is reflected. We can call these many different forms of reflected light what ever we wish, but as in the composition that originally sparked this thread, it is how the items are placed and what they reflect that gives what it is we see balance and harmony. Don't believe me... put it in a room with no light, then judge what you see. Culture has nothing to do with it.

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  John Quinn on Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:14 pm

For those for whom English is a second (or third) language, I think Tom meant 'emulate'! Shocked Smile

Immolate:
1: to offer in sacrifice ; especially : to kill as a sacrificial victim
2: to kill or destroy often by fire

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  Emil Brannstrom on Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:52 pm

Wm Tom Davis wrote:Artistic guidelines are a product of nature and of the artist, especially when dealing with living things like trees.
Walter Pall is indeed a wonderful artist and how he defines his art form is of his own doing and not from a culture.
Artistic license is that of the artist and not the culture. It is people who wish to immolate the artist's works who follow rules and such, much like chefs who have recipes. To say that it is a product of culture could mean that all artists who are Mongolian produce only Mongolian art. Not so... In all art forms, what we are looking at is reflected light to our eyes. This light changes how it is that we see what it is that we are viewing. In essence, all artists are manipulators of light that is reflected. We can call these many different forms of reflected light what ever we wish, but as in the composition that originally sparked this thread, it is how the items are placed and what they reflect that gives what it is we see balance and harmony. Don't believe me... put it in a room with no light, then judge what you see. Culture has nothing to do with it.

I guess we're just gonna have to agree to disagree on that one.

Regards
Emil

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  Wm Tom Davis on Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:06 pm

John Quinn wrote:For those for whom English is a second (or third) language, I think Tom meant 'emulate'! Shocked Smile

Immolate:
1: to offer in sacrifice ; especially : to kill as a sacrificial victim
2: to kill or destroy often by fire

Thanks John for the catch, 'emulate' it is; although some in bonsai would say that in killing trees we learn. Embarassed

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  mehrdad chavosh on Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:15 am

HI Mike, just find this pictures form last year's show, great tree , I love it so much.
w.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=14&u=14526655][/url]

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

Post  mike page on Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:50 pm

[quote="mehrdad chavosh"]HI Mike, just find this pictures form last year's show, great tree , I love it so much.
quote]

Mehrdad, thank you so much for your very kind comment.

Mike

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Re: FORMAL DISPLAY

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