Kent Manske: West Meets East: Artworks based on a journey to China

  • ©2007, Kent Manske



    West Meets East: Artworks based on a journey to China


Creation Year:



    Archival pigment prints: mounted and hinged on canvas, Book covers are painted wood with screenprinted logo


    Framed print installation, 44 inches x 84 inches x 3 inches, Artist’s book, 12 inches x 23 inches x 1.5 inches


Artist Statement:

    Introspection drives my need to create. Processing thoughts, ideas, and observations is the nature of my art practice. Through creation of images and objects, I explore my being and belongingness. This investigation helps me access my own truths and facilitates my understanding of the world in a broader context. In July 2005, I traveled to China. Upon returning, I mentally processed the trip by working with images I photographed. Thirteen new prints, in an edition of four, were created. Two sets of prints were bound as books. The images created reflect my feelings about the cultural, political, and natural landscape I explored.

    The title references my introduction to China’s mysterious and historically rich culture. The book’s logo presents East moving toward West, referencing both western culture’s influence on China and China’s emerging influence in global politics. My visual narratives function as conscious maps, providing visual routes for interpreting ideas and making meaning. Each mark metaphorically documents an experience, comments on a situation, or reveals a process of thinking. In this series, restroom signs acknowledge differences in everyday practice and customs between the West and East. The cultural icon of the fan becomes a dirty window addressing environmental issues. Chopsticks merge with forks to signify China’s adoption of American fast food. Chairman Mao meets the Buddha to symbolize the hybridization of the sacred and the popular. A self portrait explores spiritual practices researched on the trip. Several prints explore China’s pains as it adapts to modernization, capitalism, and colonialism. The works seek not closure but further inquiry.

Technical Information:

    Images were captured with a digital camera, imaged in Photoshop and printed on 285 gm2 Hahnemühle Torchon Watercolor Paper using an Epson 2000P inkjet printer. The artist books are hand bound by the artist using stab binding techniques common to Asian cultures. Prints are mounted and hinged on thick cotton canvas. Book covers are painted wood with screenprinted logos. The book includes a title page and colophon page. The books provide a functional and inhabitable space for the images, thoughts, and language of the artist to form. Each page provides a private space for contemplation. Within the conceptual space of the book form, relationships emerge, narrative evolves, and meaning manifests.