After nine years of marriage that ended in divorce, four years of art school, and her mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's, Rumi Koshino in 2010 made a love letter. It was huge and delicate. It undulated like a wave. It stood on little stilts. (Pictures.)
The themes of water and paper, of sending a message across some distance—these all persisted in her works in the years to come. After the tsunami in her native Japan, she created a wall of water made of handcut linoleum accompanied by a video in which she just stood at this edge of the Pacific Ocean looking east. That showed at NEPO House and was called I'm Sorry. Thank You. I Love You. The title was a reference to the Japanese entrepreneur Masaru Emoto's belief that if you speak kindly to water just before it freezes, its crystal formations will be more beautiful.
Then last year, Koshino showed a series of watercolor paintings of letters—letters she'd been sent and had saved over the course of 20 years. (Pictures.)
Now, tonight, as a farewell, she's leaving letters behind her in Seattle as she relocates to San Francisco. (She simply wants fresh perspective after a decade here, she said.) To Vignettes (the gallery in an artist's apartment—read "Sierra Stinson Moves Her Bed So You Can See Good Art"), she'll bring the original 2010 Love Letter she made in graduate school, which she was never entirely satisfied with. She will also bring scissors. On the back side of the piece, she's drawn the shapes of envelopes, and each person will have the chance to cut one out and take it away. When the envelope is folded in on itself, a piece of Koshino's original letter will be embedded inside. It's her version of the Cut Piece, she said, Yoko Ono's 1960s performance in which she sat completely still while members of her audience cut off her clothing bit by bit.
Seattle will miss you, Rumi Koshino. Be sure to write. Check out much more of her sculptures, installations, videos, and paintings here.