Miya Ando’s artwork brings colour to sheets of aluminium
by MADHUMITA VENKATARAMANAN
Half-Japanese, half-Russian/American metalsmith Miya Ando makes art through alchemy. In her studio in New York, she uses chemical techniques such as anodisation and patination to transform industrial metals into radiant artworks. “I love to work with all things luminescent,” she says. “That’s my primary reason for working with steel and aluminium — nothing reflects light like metal does.”
Ando was raised in a Buddhist temple in Okayama, Japan, and is descended from a family of sword makers. “I started working with steel as soon as I was old enough to handle it,” she says. After learning welding and smithing, she returned to the US and began to experiment. “I submerge aluminium in an electrochemical bath and plate it with sapphire crystals to make it really hard and take up dyes easily,” she says. “Once I pull it out of the tank, I wash it out with water and mix 20-30 different colours and chemicals in little buckets to create a palette of custom colours.” Her painting technique involves hand brushing the colours in multiple layers on to the metal. “Then I put it into a vat of boiling liquid which snaps the surface crystals shut and holds the dye permanently.”
A recent set
of her wall paintings, which emit a “ghostly halo” through phosphorescent pigments painted under the dyes, will be shown at the Sundaram Tagore gallery in Hong Kong throughout February. “I love the idea that these paintings are forever — that they will continue to absorb and emit light for eternity.”
Miya Ando will be having a solo exhibition opening October 16, Sundaram Tagore Gallery NYC. Exhibition dates October 16 - November 15.