Formal display for discussion XI


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Fresno, CA
Whats wrong with this display?

Whats right about this display?


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Pretty close to okay I think. I suppose the scroll could be a little lower though.
This one is hard to call because of the photo. The bonsai almost looks to me to be leaning away from the center of the display. If this is the case, you would want to flip the bonsai and the accent. I have to assume it is NOT the case and I just can't see a left-leaning apex.

I would move the accent forward. To me small accent plants should be forward to give an impression of scale to the display.
The tree needs to be adjusted in the pot. It is tilted to the right. The upper portion of the trunk should be straight up and the mass of needles should be sitting level, not canted to the right. It looks like it is trying to fall out of the pot to the right. If you did that then the pot likely would need to be a little larger.

The area given for the display is not large enough to properly accommodate the three items.

If the tree was sitting as described it would cover up the scroll.

However the three items do seem to be in harmony with each other.
To me, the mountain scene did not really harmonize with the marsh grass and coastal Japanese black pine until I looked again and saw Fuji-san as a backdrop in the far distance. Then I could see myself on a fishing boat, looking past this coastal figure with Fuji in the distance.

The scroll and tree are both going to the right leading the viewer out of the display...
I think by themselves, the elements are very beautiful. The great age and the strength of the bonsai's trunk are impressive.

Somehow, the composition doesn't quite work for me. I think it might be a matter of scale, and the size of the tokonoma. I wonder if the artist had any control over the size of the tokonoma he or she had to work with. Things seem rather cramped: there isn't enough void space to evoke openness and the illusion of perspective.

I think this composition could work in a much larger tokonoma, but again, I don't know whether the artist had any control over this. If the artist were assigned the space, I think it might be possible to use the same scroll, but use much smaller bonsai and kusamono (or perhaps a suiseki instead) to make better use of the smaller size of the tokonoma. It might also be possible to display the same bonsai in this smaller space with only one other element (I'd go with the scroll for the height it would lend the composition).

We had two Tokonoma's that were only 6 feet in length. They were assigned by postmark on the entry. As a matter of note. Nearly half of the registrants asked for a 6 foot space. We had two so assigned them by registration. This entrant was the first to ask for a 6 foot space. Since he is my teacher I tried to talk him out of the smaller space but he insisted on the smaller space.

I will say that I felt it cramped and he did also. Ahh live and learn.

In fact I wished a 6 foot space thinking my tree and composition was going to be dwarfed in the space. I was wrong.

Next year maybe a shohin composition would work in the smaller space...I wonder who might put together a display of shohin trees?
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