Masaya Hashimoto’s images of pure white plants might not look like anything remarkable until you realize what they are made out of: the self taught artist crafts them out of the fine bone and antlers from deer near his home in Japan. In some ways, his sculptures are a byproduct of where he lived for nearly a decade, a mountain Buddhist temple where he was given the chance to closely observe the life cycle of plants and flowers like irises and chrysanthemums.
Now living and working in Tokyo, Hashimoto’s series, like his subjects, is an ever-changing one. Today, he sources his inspiration from cut flowers in his studio. He sets the flower in a vase and studies every detail intensely from its first days of vibrancy to slow wilt and death. His recent series of flowers encompasses this entire process in a single sculpture, as in his complex wall-mounted arrangements of blooms. Other pieces, as in one sculpture of bamboo blowing in wind, express a flow of movement.
It should be said that not all of Hashimoto’s materials are sourced ethically. Many of his materials come from animals he hunted, or witnessed being hunted. In this notion, his work presents a conflict and is full of contradiction: a statement about the delicate balance of life, where life “blooms” from sudden and imminent death. In his artist statement, Hashimoto writes that his work “attempts to take out the subtle remnant of life out of the animal remains, questioning the quasi-clear boundaries between such concepts as life and death, and still and motion.”