Contemporary Stone Showcase
To establish an ongoing international dialogue about contemporary displays that will help to promote stone appreciation. We encourage members of the global viewing stone community to create new ways of displaying stones that reflect your life in the 21st century, your regional geology, your customs, craft and culture. Unfamiliar types of stones, bases, accessories and materials are welcome. We are not confined to displaying viewing stones in either the traditional Japanese or Chinese manner. These are options available to us and we should respect and acknowledge the established ways of displaying stones, but they are not the only way. It is timely to explore exciting new options to create stone displays that have bases, display tables, and other accessories that reflect our regional and national arts and crafts. Each month, one or more new contemporary stone displays will be featured and we will maintain a gallery of contemporary stone displays photographs to help people learn about this option.
How to Participate:
The online exhibition is open to anyone worldwide. Submit a 300 dpi photo (3000 x 3000 pixels) of your stone display. A display should consist of a stone, base, and accessories (tables, figures, plants, art work, others) that reflect a contemporary approach to your display. Accessories are optional. Please include a short one-paragraph description of your display. Use the entry form below.
Each entry will be evaluated on originality of the display and the coherence of the accompanying statement by a panel of viewing stone connoisseurs and artists. Each person will receive feedback about their display regardless of whether or not it is accepted for the online exhibition.
by Richard Turner
Suiseki display tradition insists that the base be subordinate to the stone. Modest, even minimal bases are preferred. Bases for Chinese viewing stones, on the other hand, are often more elaborate, at times vying for attention with the stone itself. This contemporary display has aspects of both Japanese and Chinese viewing stone display traditions.
Here the cutting board on which this piece of petrified wood sits has the size and shape of the thin hardwood boards often placed under suiseki. Breaking with tradition, this stone does not have a carved base but sits directly on the cutting board. The stone is placed off center and to the rear, so that when seen from the front, there is an adequate foreground. Its placement also takes into account the hole in the cutting board inasmuch as the eye, moving from right to left, is led from the hole, up the two-step vertical face of the stone to the peak and then gently down the left side to the edge of the cutting board. The tilt of the left face of the stone, combined with the steep angle of the top and the step-down of the right face cause the stone to “recoil” from the cutting board hole, much like an elephant in a cartoon might be startled by a mouse. Although the materials for this display are contemporary, the formal qualities of the arrangement are entirely consistent with conventional Japanese modes of display.
From a Chinese perspective, the drama of the base enhances the character of the stone. The horizontal pattern of the cutting board’s striped laminations echoes the vertical striations in the petrified wood. The warm colors of the dark and light wood strips complement the caramels, whites and yellows of the stone. The regularity of the alternating laminated strips, together with the flame-like striations in the stone suggest a different sort of harmony between a stone and its base.
It is also interesting to note that the base and the stone are both wood, one in its organic form the other in its “mineralized” form.