Living With Art ‘Summer Salon’ with Works by Tomo Mori + Reuben Sinha




The textile artwork of Tomo Mori at The Summer Salon, now on view at Living with Art Salon. Image courtesy Connie Lee, Living with Art Salon.

On the heals of the exhibition ‘At Home’, Living with Art Salon opens its doors to The Summer Salon, creating a unique and colorful conversation between Ceramics and Fiber Art. This new exhibition features the works of two artists ~ Reuben Sinha and Tomo Mori.

Connie Lee, Owner/Curator of Living with Art Salon describing the intricate work by Tomo Mori ~ On the mantle and on the floor, colorful ceramics by Reuben Sinha

Tomo Mori‘s featured works include two distinct approaches and mediums that make up her practice. One series is an installation of ropes that represent her desire for the world to feel more connected. This series came to life during her powerless feelings, experienced while observing the rise of hate crimes over the past few years.

Beautiful framed textile piece by Tomo Mori on the wall, with a tiny Zoomer in the foreground by Leah Poller

“I started an installation series representative of human connections. Ropes came to mind as a symbol of connection, probably because I grew up seeing Shimenawa (sacred ropes) in Japan. I was attracted to their universality and ancient history that goes back 28,000 years. Recently I learned that my grandmother’s family ran a rope manufacturring company until the war. I’m feeling a strange affinity for rope-making.”…. Tomo Mori

And so it began. Starting this series, Mori ordered some cotton ropes. But finding them expensive and lifeless, she taught herself to make them with old clothes. A bag full of her handmade ropes looked alive ~ like an organic creature.

Artist, Tomo Mori hanging her installation in The Summer Salon at Living with Art Salon. Image courtesy of the artist.

“Even as I knew that my making ropes would not save the world, and I had no idea how I would present them as art, I could not stop making them. To weave a rope, you twist one thread outwards as you bring the other side inward. Two opposing forces repeat to create strength. The process became meditative, like a prayer for a divided world to come together again.”….. Tomo Mori

Mori uses this ancient and universal object, rope, as the symbol of connection. The fabrics she uses are clothes and linens of our time, donated from friends from many places. The ropes showcase the complexity of connections by intersecting, tying, passing-through, wrapping around, tangling and dangling. Her mother, thinking of her own mother’s history with rope making, commented “like you’re suppose to ~ life imitates art again.”

Tomo Mori: song of Our Ancestors on view in The Summer Salon.  Image courtesy of the artist

Mori’s fabric collage series is presented on canvases. Hundreds of squares reminiscent of digital pixels compose an aggregate like a living organism. Together they represent the harmony and history of our Time. They focus on the beauty and complexity of multiculturalism and the history of our ancestors’ journey and survival.

For both the ropes and collage series, the artist tries to work with used materials like old clothes and linens, to keep her practice less wasteful and more environmentally responsible for the natural habitat and our children’s future. Mori’s mission is to evoke conversations to learn about each other, and find personal ways to be more connected to avoid hate crime tragedies caused by the fear of the unknown.

Ceramic piece by artist Reuben Sinha in The Summer Salon

When visiting the gallery, after the first run-through on your own, try to catch Connie Lee (owner/curator of the Salon) for real behind-the-scenes insight into the artists and the work on view in this particular exhibition. We couldn’t wait to catch her eye to hear more about the stunning ceramic pieces created by Reuben Sinha that had just arrived.

The uniquely shaped pieces are placed throughout the gallery space ~ on mantles, tables and larger pieces on the floor. The work reflects Sinha’s background, arriving with his family in New York from India when he was seven. He will say that through his art, he attempts to reconcile the two conflicting cultures.

The Summer Salon at Living with Art ~ Ceramics by Reuben Sinha, textile art by Tomo Mori. Image courtesy Connie Lee, Living with Art Salon

In addition to ceramics, Sinha is also a painter, receiving a BFA from NYU, and subsequent studies at Art Students League of New York and Columbia University. His awards include the MacDowell Traveling Scholarship and a Fulbright Fellowship. Both travel grants were used to return to India to study and paint.

His trips back to India awakened and challenged his notions that art can only exist in a cultural context, i.e. his art continues to try to bridge his two cultures.

He was the Founder and Executive Director of artHarlem, a not-for-profit community arts organization that produced The Harlem Open Artist Studio Tour.  He also taught drawing and anatomy at Art Students League of New York and Spring Studio.

You never know who will show up at the Salon. Artist, Kenseth Armstead showing support for fellow artists, sitting in front of artwork by Tomo Mori. His installation, Boulevard of African Monarchs, is on view through August on 116th St at ACP & St Nicholas Blvd in Harlem.

About Connie Lee ~ Lee works collaboratively and comprehensively with artists to develop public art installations and to provide access to art in communities that are often excluded by bringing quality art installations, exhibitions and performances to people where they live. In addition, two years ago she began exhibiting works by local artists indoors. “I wanted to create access to art for emerging collectors, and after toying with the idea of curating exhibitions and presenting the work of the artists that I know well, salon-style, I moved the project into my current space, where I have great walls.” ~ Connie Lee

Located in a brownstone in the Mount Morris Park Historic District of Harlem, Living with Art Salon’s ‘Summer Show’ will be on view through October 31, 2021. Follow Connie Lee at the Salon and in surrounding Parks (currently 5 on view and 2 more coming this summer) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While you’re there, check out ‘The Back Room’ with artwork from previous exhibitions, beautifully displayed and all for sale.

Five current outdoor art installations organized by Connie Lee are walking distance from her Salon, as follows: Julio Valdez: I Can’t Breathe in historic Collyer Brothers Park ~ Susan Stair: Ascending the Mountain located in Marcus Garvey Park ~ Capucine Bouchart: Plastic Fantastic! located in Harlem Art Park ~  Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty located in Morningside Park ~ and Kenseth Armstead: Boulevard of African Monarchs on 116th Street at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. We are expecting two more art installations later in the summer.

Taking a look back at Living with Art Salon exhibitions At Home; Form, Paper, Scissors; and Pattern Migration.

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