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Akiko Kotani

Florida Contemporary 2021-22


Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). White Falls: Artis Naples, 2020. Crocheted polyethylene, appr. 20 x 420 x 12 in. (dimensions vary at each installation). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). White Falls: Artis—Naples, 2021. Crocheted polyethylene, appr. 20 x 420 x 12 in. (dimensions vary at each installation). Courtesy of the artist.


Florida Contemporary, an annual exhibition organized by Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, highlights work by notable visual artists active in Florida. Three artists are invited for its ninth iteration this season: Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Akiko Kotani and Noelle Mason. A wide array of compelling works by these artists with distinct backgrounds and artistic interests testify to the creative energies and intellectual vigor present in the state’s visual art world.

Upcoming exhibition

October 21, 2021 – July 17, 2022
Located in the Friends of Artis—Naples Gallery of Hayes Hall


Hawaii-born fiber artist Akiko Kotani (b. 1940) is professor emerita of art at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and resides in Gulfport. She was named Pittsburgh Artist of the Year in 2013, and in 2019, Artist Laureate by Creative Pinellas. From her massive, site-specific installation pieces crocheted with plastic trash bags to minimalistic stitched works that distill impressions of nature and landscape, Kotani’s art exemplifies the boundless innovations taking place in contemporary fiber arts. She has significantly contributed to redefining fiber arts' relationship to the fine arts, transcending the customary boundaries between the two. Stitch by stitch, she integrates traditional women’s handcrafts into stunning contemporary artwork.

Kotani received her BFA in painting from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and her MFA in textiles from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. The artist's sensibility and training as a painter come through as she engages with weaving and embroidery techniques. Kotani’s early works were woven textiles, demonstrating the influence of Mayan weaving techniques she learned while living in Guatemala over a two-year period, as well as her exploration of materials as diverse as bamboo and plastic. This has continued over the course of her long career, especially after she retired from teaching.

Kotani’s works, such as her Red Rain and Views of the Bosphorus series, illustrate how gracefully she employs simple stitched lines and dots with her needle like a painter or draftsman. These pieces show her exploration of the poetic potentials of abstract visual language, and symbolize the repetitive nature of women’s traditional domestic work. Kotani’s works on silk organza and paper evoke transcendental beauty inspired by the natural landscape and explores the field of vision. Extending her artistic explorations, Kotani started her large-scale, site-specific installation pieces in 2013. As seen in White Falls (2019), multiple panels created with plastic trash bags, crocheted like panels, fall from above and cascade down on the gallery floor.

Kotani’s work is in such notable collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as being exhibited in both venues. She has participated in international artist residencies, such as Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, and Hvitahus, Iceland. She has exhibited in cities worldwide, including Torino and Florence in Italy, Nîmes and Auvillar in France, Izmir in Turkey, and Tokyo in Japan, to name just a few.


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Selected Works

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). Red Rain, 2001. Silk stitched on three layers of silk organza, 43 x 181 x 2 in. (4 panels). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). Red Rain, 2001. Silk stitched on three layers of silk organza, 43 x 181 x 2 in. (4 panels). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). Golden Grass, 2002-2004. Silk drawing stitched on 3 layers of silk organza, 45 x 181 x 2 in. (4 panels). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). Golden Grass, 2002-2004. Silk drawing stitched on 3 layers of silk organza, 45 x 181 x 2 in. (4 panels). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). View of the Bosphorus: Bebek, 2013. Bamboo stitched on Archers paper, 20 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). View of the Bosphorus: Bebek, 2013. Bamboo stitched on Archers paper, 20 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). View of the Bosphorus: Kadiköy, 2013. Bamboo stitched on Archers paper, 20 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). View of the Bosphorus: Kadiköy, 2013. Bamboo stitched on Archers paper, 20 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). Wind in Vermont 1-4, 2006. Graphite on Fabriano paper, 32 x 24 in. (each panel). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). Wind in Vermont 1-4, 2006. Graphite on Fabriano paper, 32 x 24 in. (each panel). Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). White Falls: Artis—Naples (detail), 2021. Crocheted polyethylene, appr. 20 x 420 x 12 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Akiko Kotani (American, b. 1940). White Falls: Artis—Naples (detail), 2021. Crocheted polyethylene, appr. 20 x 420 x 12 in. Courtesy of the artist.


Associated Events

Artist Panel

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Artists of Florida Contemporary
March 3 at 2pm

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This presentation of Florida Contemporary has been organized by Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, and curated by Rangsook Yoon, Ph.D., curator of modern art.

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