The Hanging Garden by Steven Putz
Oct. 30th to Nov 20th, 2016.
Steven Putz’s most recent work,(The Hanging Garden) an installation using props, sculpture, and set design techniques, pays homage to the notorious Aokigahara Forest in Japan(also known as The Suicide Forest) . The artist discovered The Suicide Forest during a recent exhibition where he displayed works that addressed the issue of suicide in Japanese culture. The forest was used as part of a practice called Ubasute during the famines in the Edo period (1603-‐1868). In which, family members would abandon their ill and elderly there in an effort to better ration dwindling food supplies. A majority would have certainly perished due to exposure, inadvertently making Aokigahara Forest Japans most haunted location.
More recently (1950-‐present) the forest has become Japans number one suicide location. Presently the authorities no longer post the number of suicides occurring within the forest in an effort to avoid attracting negative publicity and romanticizing the deaths. However, the popularity of this location continues to increase in the media; Vice Documentaries, New York Times, Japan Times and numerous online sources have all reported on The Aokigahara Forest. And by the time Steven’s installation is presented, MTV will have released The Forest, a film using Aokigahara as a backdrop. Furthermore, several well received books have been published regarding the forest.
Steven Putz’s Hanging Garden balances between a sense of mystical horror and historical fact, between knowing what is present and what is the past. His installation invites viewers to step beyond what they might recognize as their own mortality.
Steven Putz received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has exhibited in group shows like I Heart Japan, Duke Gallery, Azusa , CA,. and Ghost Show VI, Borderline Gallery, Milwaukee, WI. He has received international awards for his printmaking. Steven has completed one novel and coauthored a novella, both unpublished. Though rarely exhibiting throughout his career, his works appear in private collections and have been purchased by such institutions as The Haggerty Museum. Steven resides in Los Angeles where his studio practice continues.