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Chikara no Hikari

By Norie Sato

Norie Sato

Arena Project: Uptown Portal “Chikara no Hikari”

Norie Sato was born in Sendai, Japan in 1949 and immigrated to the United States when she was four years old. She moved to Seattle in 1972 and received her MFA  degree in Printmaking and Video from the University of Washington in 1974. Since then she has lived and worked in Seattle and has been involved with public art.

Norie’s artwork for public contexts is derived from site and context-driven ideas. Her practice also includes works for galleries, museums and other installations. She strives to add meaning and human touch to the built environment and considers edges, transitions, and connections as important as the center. Her projects are located around the country, including for the San Diego International Airport Reflection Room; San Francisco International Airport Terminal 2; Arabian Library and McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center, both in Scottsdale; Miami International Airport; the Seattle Justice Center; Iowa State University’s Hach Chemistry Building; Salt Lake City Light Rail; the new Port of Portland Headquarters; and University of Wisconsin/Madison’s new Biochemistry Building. Current projects include an artwork for the Union St. East-West Connector for Seattle’s waterfront. Norie works in sculpture and 2-dimensional work, and in various media including glass, metal, terrazzo floors, integrated design work, landscape, video and light. She is a former member of the Public Art Network Council and former commissioner of the Seattle Design Commission

I am interested in the notion that an artwork personalizes the experience of a city for both resident and visitor, and becomes the identifiers of certain spaces. The rich history of artwork in Seattle and on the Seattle Center grounds is a wonderful legacy on which to build. I feel my work can fit very well into that legacy. To create an artwork at this prominent location is a privilege that I would be honored to undertake. 

I am influenced by a site’s characteristics, and my artworks can be traced to the physical, sociological, environmental, functional and historical parameters of a site. Working this way has given me a strong awareness of the potential and opportunity a site holds. At the same time, I hope to make work that provides a poetic experience with layers of meaning. The success of my work lies in the fact that it begins with a strong aesthetic basis that engages the viewer. And once engaged, viewers discover other layers within the work, providing a multifaceted and meaningful work to experience. Rather than working from a single style or form, I craft individual responses to each project. My experience over the years with a variety of projects, materials and contexts helps generate work which induces a sense of wonder, with a depth of layers of meaning and diversity of interpretation. I am committed to making individuals of all backgrounds and ages feel welcome and engaged through the “big” experience, but also in the smaller details of the artwork. I am always open to new ways of exploring how place and artwork can intersect in meaningful ways. 

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