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Nadine Terk

Bamboo Temple

Jewel River






Bamboo Temple

Gilded Landscapes

Living in Japan for two years completely changed my thinking about aesthetics. Traditional Japanese art is about beauty, tranquility and nature. In the Momoyama Period (1574-1615), long before electricity, artists painted on large gold leaf screens. The screens were decorative, but they also served the greater purpose of illuminating dark rooms - spaces that were lit by candle light.

Gold leaf is precious and extremely difficult to apply. It is also one of my favorite media. An image on gold leaf will never look the same twice. The undertones will change throughout the day from red to yellow to blue, depending on the light conditions. This constant change in mood excites me. The reflective properties of gold imbue artwork with a graceful vitality.

For the past decade I have been painting bamboo groves. The idea for this body of work began with a visit to my favorite temple in Japan, the Bamboo Temple in Kamakura. I spent an afternoon there drinking tea and staring out at the immense bamboo grove. Enormous bamboo trees swayed gracefully in the spring breeze. I watched how the light changed with every second and it was then that I first imagined painting bamboo groves and gilding the negative space with gold leaf in order to capture the changing light. With this idea in mind, I studied the traditional method of Japanese gold leafing with an artist from Yamaguchi prefecture, where I used to live. I have continued developing this theme with irises, cherry blossom trees and a variety of indigenous trees.