Pure Land exhibition / by mark walsh


Pure Land features Beausein’s unique techniques with paper, and furthers her scope with washi paper, indigo dye, embossing, woodcut, backlight and stitch.

The exhibition title ‘Pure land’ is a direct translation of Japanese “Jodo” a branch of Buddhism that is widely practiced in Japan. Jodo or Pure Land is understood in many ways. It could be a state of mind cultivated through practice, or thought of as a real place. However, Beausein has used it to describe another place, a place where the everyday becomes imbued with meaning and metaphor.

‘Woodcuts’ or relief sculptures

In ‘Pure land’ Beausein has carved birch ply using the wood itself as the artwork rather than as a printing block. These works utilize the natural shimmer of the revealed birch grain juxtaposed against ink and indigo to create rich, lustrous relief sculptures. She has used the long format reminiscent of a Japanese handscroll where the image is taken in with a long sweeping view and also a square format that encourages a circular ‘taking in’ of the work that refers to the Buddhist concept of balance.

Washi paper

From the many traditional Japanese techniques involving paper that Beausein has learnt directly from masters of their fields while in Japan she has developed her own techniques to express and convey her feelings and ideas. Beausein has hand made the all of the paper for ‘Pure land’; it varies in thickness from super fine to very thick and is also used as a sculptural medium depending on its intended purpose.

Indigo dye features and Beausein has furthered her dyeing techniques to create abstract landscapes from a ‘Pure land’. These pieces express the Japanese concept of wabi sabi while signifying Beausein’s vision of a ‘Pure land’ realm. Some of these works use embossing from Japanese drain covers depicting the sacred lotus or from Shinto woodblocks to suggest a world that remains unknowable yet is somehow imprinted into our psyche.

See the entire body of work here