| november 6, 1998
by Leah Ollman
Hashimoto's richly textured new work at Gallery Soolip conjures
up fire's split personality -- its power to sustain life and to
extinish it. Hashimoto splits her attention in this show, too,
between work addressing the Hindu practice of sati --
a widow's self-immolation on her husband's funeral pyre -- and
the moral lessons of Hindi storybooks.
is Stronger", 1998| 26 x 33 inches (framed) | ceramic, book,
dye, india ink
in her last, quietly moving show here, Hashimoto's sati
work unfolds as a highly aestheticized meditation on the gender
dynamics implicit in the custom, which draws its name from the
Sanskrit word for faithfu or virtuous wife. Through fragments
of text scattered among the small, page-like panels of paper or
clay, Hashimoto challenges the notion that women practiced sati
willingly, in one case citing a historical account of women
being forced into the flames with bamboo rods.
discontinuous, corroded texts of the Hindi storybooks impairs
any attempt to draw real meaning from them. But, in the case of
the sati-themed work, such fragmentation and erosion resonate
evocatively with the subject at hand. Hashimoto'sstrength is in
creating textural equivalents to the conditions of compromise,
violation, fragility and endurance that are integral to her discussion
several works, she coats paper books with wax, then types over
them, the impact of the manual typewriter's keys palpable as it
penetrates the page and even forces small perforations in it.
In other works, she mounts groups of clay tablets that seem ashen,
weakened perhaps from burns around the edges, though it was fire
that made the substance strong.