Creating primarily from clay, sculptor Laurel Lukaszewski explores her fascination with the Japanese cultural concept of “ichi-go ichi-e”. Rooted in Zen Buddhism and the concepts of transience, the term is most closely associated with the Japanese tea ceremony and expresses the notion of “in one lifetime, one meeting.” According to Lukaszewski, “there is poignancy in this idea that any instance in time is unique and unrepeatable” and she adds “that no matter how good (or how bad) all is temporary.” “It is both an encouragement to seize the day and a memorial for what has been lost.”

In addition to the concept of ichi-go ichi-e, Lukaszewski is also inspired by the visual appeal of pattern, rhythm and line, found both in nature and in the context of drawings. Many of Lukaszewski’s pieces, especially her installation works, are composed of repeated forms, each individually shaped and suggestive of movement whether in the present or across time. Her abstracted coil and ribbon works are reminiscent of line drawings, calligraphic brush strokes and scribbles while her more realistic leaves and blossoms, numbering in the thousands, remind the viewer of the transient beauty found in nature. According to Lukaszewski, “I feel that part of what gives the work its soul is that, like in nature, from afar everything looks the same, but when you examine closely you see variations that allow each piece to be unique.”

Like the uniqueness of each small piece comprising each of Lukaszewski’s simple, yet sublime creations, so is each meeting or moment in time as suggested to us in the Japanese notion of “ichi-go ichi-e”. The artist is hopeful that her works will serve as a reminder to the viewer to pause, if just for an instant, and “absorb the now.”