1. supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck.
Kono’s work is interested in the fluidity of time and culture. Her images reflect on how stories and symbols create meaning that’s passed from one society to another, transcending cultures and offering a connection between diverse viewpoints.
This exhibition, “Apotrope,” incorporates folklore and mythology from both east and west, focusing on symbols imbued with apotropaic properties intended to protect and shield the viewer from evil. Symbols and stories, untethered by logic, reveal the essence of truth. Embraced and embodied into the images, these truths both channel nature’s light and ward off the inevitable shadows.
Kono’s practice focuses on ancient techniques and mediums specifically chosen to acknowledge our collective past.
Recognizing the pivotal role of precious metals in the development of
modern trade routes with both beneficial and tragic consequences, a fully rendered silverpoint drawing forms the foundational layer of each painting. The egg tempera paintings are layered with raw pigments chosen for their purity of color and geographic and historical connections. For example, Ercolano Red is a natural pigment obtained from iron ore deposits near ancient Herculaneum. This city, destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius’s eruption in AD 79, is a place forever linked with the fragility of human achievement when confronted by the power of nature. The symbols of the images are chosen to represent multiple concepts whose meaning may shift depending upon the viewer’s perspective. The work encourages a reflection on how we are connected to nature, the past, and each other.
E. E. Kono lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. While she is a self-taught painter, she studied art history at the University of Hull (England) and The University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA). She has
studied traditional egg tempera techniques under the guidance of artist Koo Schadler. Raised in the upper Mississippi River valley, Kono spent her formative summers exposed to the global
community of her parents' graduate housing. She traveled extensively between the U.S., Asia, and Europe as an adult. She married into a Japanese American family and is raising her
daughter in California. An avid sailor, Kono's work often shows a connection to the sea. Before focusing on her art practice, Kono wrote and illustrated books for children publishing over a dozen picture books with major trade publishers. Kono's work is collected internationally and has been shown in many venues, including La Luz de Jesus, Modern Eden, and Riverside Art Museum.