Time sets boundaries from one event to the next, yet it connects them in a continuous flow. My work, Spaces in Between, explores the Japanese time-space concept of ma, which refers to the blankness or the empty space between objects or events, the silence between notes of music or thoughts and moments. It is an interval in time and space, in which a void takes its meaningful place.


My cultural and personal experiences provide the conceptual parameters where creative responses translate the interval of ma into visual forms. Born into a Korean family in Tokyo, Japan, immigrated to the United States as a teenager, and lived in Germany for many years as an adult, I have always identified with "in between-ness". Being in between cultures is an awkward place, not fitting into any one culture completely. Yet, the between-space is where I live. It is a place to negotiate, connect and break the boundaries.


In my studio, the process of painting also takes a conceptual form. Time is very much engraved in the slow ritual of applying multiple layers of translucent paint. Only one layer of paint is applied per day, as the paint needs time to dry. Day after day, I regard the meditative application of each layer as an act of creating a space, which eventually multiplies over time and creates a dimensionality. I am interested in developing sensory experiences through the physicality and the visual expressions of my work that allow the viewer to enter into an imagination of intervals in time and find meaningfulness in between-spaces in this transitory world—the void that exists in time and space as a place of contemplation, rejuvenation, and change.

© 2017, Bernadette Jiyong Frank