Toshi: The Search For Perfection

Toshi: The Search For Perfection

If you go to the former exhibit area on the second floor of George Hall on the University of Hawaii campus, you will see them — the large wedge and circles, all made of colored yarn, wood, plastic pipe and an assortment of other things. And seeing them, you might wonder what they are.

If you’re lucky, in front of the wedge, sitting at the round wooden picnic table will be their creator, Toshi Suematsu, scribbling numbers on a tablet. Go up to him and ask the question. He will break out of his deep thought, greet you with a smile and probably say, “I’ve been waiting for you.” “You,” meaning everyone.

You’ll see that Toshi is always happy to talk and explain his creation. He enjoys the company of questioning minds because he feels he has something to give them. He wants to share what he knows and what he, himself, questions. He’ll tell you, “It’s all in there,” pointing to the objects he created.

And from talking to him, you will realize that the sculptured objects are not just aesthetic art objects. For Toshi, they represent art in its symbolic and theoretic form — truth made visible — that, ultimately, to Toshi, means communication. He says, “Without truth, there is no message.”

To a large extent, the objects became tools for demonstrating a kind of practical art. The objects become visual aids and points of evidence, just as a calculator or numbers on a note pad help to understand the answer to a math problem.

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