Vaughn Bell

2007 Kamiyama Artist in Residence participant
In Kamiyama from September 3 to November 9, 2007

Vaughn Bell was born in New York, USA. Vaughn received her MFA from the Studio for Inter-related Media at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She has taught or been at visiting artist at Massachusetts College of Art, Montserrat College of Art, Syracuse University, and Ursinus College, and currently teaches at Fairhaven College at Western Washington University. She has exhibited her artwork including sculpture, installation and public projects in venues across the United States including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland, OR, and has also shown her work in the UK. She is planning on developing an installation and an event in which she can interact with people. The installation will be based on her exploration of the landscape around Kamiyama. She currently is based in Seattle.(→Vaughn Bell website)

At the workshop with Josei Highschool students(Oawa-yama Mountain)

See Vaughn in Action
Artist Statement

Rice becomes a river

Rice becomes a river(Oawa-yama Mountain)

Rice becomes a river(Josei Highschool)

becoming a river

rice becomes a river
life becomes a river
again, life becomes a river

A typhoon arrived in Kamiyama in one of the first weeks I was here. The sound of water, so persistent at regular times, erupted into a roar. First, the rain came in sporadic mists and bursts, between hot humid sun, and then it settled in, pounding on the roof and filling some buckets on the edge of the studio. On the way to the onsen, I looked out at a river high above where it had been. Before a crystalline blue, it was now a coffee colored, surging mass. The frogs, crabs and worms were out all over the road. At night the streams were roaring in the dark.
From the misty green, roaring room where Amagoi-no-taki sends the stream down the mountain, the water travels through curving paths, like the mountain roads in Kamiyama. It flows into fields where it irrigates the rice, through concrete culverts, under the highway, into Akui-gawa, and on downstream. This movement, from the waterfall to the crops, from the top of the mountain to the flowing river to water for washing and drinking, has been the source for each work I have made in Kamiyama.
In the past, I have created works with miniature portable landscapes, pieces of earth for people to adopt, or sculptures that contrast the green of nature with the concrete and glass of an urban environment. In each case the work is a response to a specific place and situation. In Kamiyama, surrounded by green of mountain, water, and rice, the work is made from those images and materials that surround and feed the inhabitants of this place. This work is created both by and for the local people and the local environment; none of it could exist without the rice fields or the help of many local people. Like Kamiyama itself, each installation is a place to walk through and in, an artwork to inhabit and explore.