Kelly Akashi: Formations now opening at the Frye Art Museum

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Kelly Akashi: Formations now opening at the Frye Art Museum
Kelly Akashi, Cultivator (Hanami) (detail), 2021. Flame-worked borosilicate glass and lost-wax cast bronze. 9 x 10 x 4 in. Collection of Sonya Yu.



SEATTLE, WA.- Kelly Akashi's exhibition Formations at the Frye Art Museum is the largest of the artist’s work to date. It spans nearly ten years of practice, from graduate school to recent research into the inherited impact of Japanese Americans’ incarceration during World War II.

Originally trained in analog photography, Kelly Akashi (born 1983, Los Angeles) is drawn to materials like glass, wax, and bronze for their alchemical potential to change states. The artist blows and sculpts these fluid materials into forms bearing the literal imprint of her body’s breath and touch. She regularly makes unique life casts of her hands, subtly marking time as fingernails grow and lifelines deepen.

This pervasive interest in time is embedded in many of Akashi’s processes and led her to studies in botany, paleontology, and biology—fields that locate the human body within deep geologic history. She gives form to this research through both old-world craft techniques such as glass working and stone carving and new imaging technologies like CT scans and EKGs. Weeds, shells, flowers, and rocks become poetic points of departure for exploring fundamental questions of existence: about being in the physical world and being in time.

The artist will be in conversation with Frye Chief Curator Amanda Donnan at the museum on Saturday, June 17, at 3 pm.

The Frye is proud to partner in a multisite exploration of Akashi’s work with the Henry Art Gallery, where the artist will present a new commission opening September 30, 2023.

Kelly Akashi (born 1983, Los Angeles) lives and works in Los Angeles. She earned her MFA from the University of Southern California. Akashi also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste - Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and received her BFA at Otis College of Art and Design. The artist has presented solo projects at the Aspen Art Museum (2020) and the SculptureCenter, New York (2017). Other notable group exhibitions include those at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts (2021); the Hammer Museum’s biennial, Made in L.A. (2016); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2017); and the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France (2017). As the winner of the 2019 Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prize, the artist conducted a residency at the foundation in Ojai, California. Akashi’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Brooklyn Museum; CC Foundation, Shanghai; M WOODS, Beijing; and Sifang Museum, Nanjing, China, among others.  

Kelly Akashi: Formations
June 17–September 10, 2023










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