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Published February 27 2013

The imperfect is perfect at new Spirit Room art show

FARGO – While most art forms may be concerned with finding the perfect in the world, a new art show is focused on finding the imperfect.

The Spirit Room kicks off its new winter show on Saturday centered on the theme of “wabi-sabi,” a Japanese concept that looks to the imperfect and incomplete for inspiration.

This is the first year the Spirit Room has done a wabi-sabi show. Executive Director Dawn Morgan says it will likely alternate with the regular Great Winter Crow Show, which has been held every other year for the last 10 years.

“I’d never been able to come up with a complimentary idea that didn’t seem predictable before,” she says of the new wabi-sabi theme. “I think this idea is just pretty extraordinary.”

The theme is unique because it encourages the artist to look for the incomplete and the worn-down, rather than striving for perfection, she says.

“People are quite tormented by trying to perfect their environment,” she says. “But the wabi-sabi idea incorporates the idea of imperfection, and it encourages the idea to appreciate and look for it, and to celebrate it.”

Morgan says she’s received more than 70 submissions of various mediums for the non-juried show, ranging from ceramics to photographs to dance.

The reason for the high turnout, she thinks, is that many area artists found the theme appealing to their craft.

“Almost everything fits into the category,” she says. “It’s in everything.”

That’s how it is for Jamestown, N.D., artist Will Buchanan, who says his multi-canvas painting “Union of Opposites” represents the different elements of wabi-sabi.

For example, putting his piece together relied on some random placement and movement of paint, Buchanan says.

“How does liquid paint move around the canvas?” he asked. “That random form is wabi-sabi.”

Buchanan said he thinks the show as a whole will have wabi-sabi elements, in that artists of any age skill level or medium were able to enter.

“That creates a random element to the whole thing,” he says. “So you can kind of see wabi-sabi in anything.”

If you go

What: Wabi-Sabi Winter Show opening reception

When: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and presentations start at 7.

Where: Spirit Room, 111 Broadway, Fargo

Info: Admission for the reception cost $5. The show runs until April 14. Call (701) 237-0230 or visit www.spiritroom.net for more information.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535