Much to my chagrin, this is only my second time to this space (a long oversight in my Austin arts travels). But I am enthused to have testsite on my list of openings and am excited to have the artist herself managing the event.
Inside, the hundred degree weather is wiped from our memory. We are greeted by clay figures demonstrating Hello-Kitty transformed into Happy Buddha. From the living room ceiling, red paper cranes hang. Strung together by red string, they float down, longer strings in the center which tapers toward the outer ring. On the west wall is a large, charcoal drawing of a funeral overlapped with an oriental symbol. The dining room table is draped with another clay Hello Kitty transformation series. The walls hold gouache on water color paintings that play with figure in a Japanese-print style. The simplicity in line and color is both peaceful and visually stimulating. Outside, thin blue-green fabric is strung up over tomb stones cast with Hello Kitty’s negative.
Teruko’s work contains a simplicity that evokes the simple act of burning incense in a temple. As I viewed the images of Hello Kitty and the “happy” Buddha so often aligned with Buddhism and mistaken for Siddhartha Gautama, I felt the strangeness that comes with being “Asian” American and not simply American.