Commissioned Artwork Now on Public Display at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

LAS VEGAS (January 29, 2019) – During a special ceremony at Mandalay Bay, Japanese artist Kisho Mwkaiyama’s Vendarta 100: Six Elements and the Seasons was unveiled to the public following a six-month visiting artist program with MGM Resorts International. Commissioned by MGM Resorts Art & Culture, Mwkaiyama’s work is a permanent part of the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection, highlighting the company’s efforts to showcase Japanese art and artists for visitors from around the world.The unveiling marks the completion of a journey that began in June 2018 at the Artist Studio at Bellagio in Las Vegas. The studio featured a lounge for viewing and learning more about Mwkaiyama’s artistic practice, with guests able to watch and engage with the artist throughout the process. As part of this visiting artist program, Mwkaiyama was able to expand his impact on the Las Vegas art community by engaging with the next generation of artists. He conducted studio visits for University of Nevada, Las Vegas students as well as presented a public artist talk at the university’s Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art.

As the inaugural artist of the Artist Studio, Mwkaiyama spent six months producing the work, a series of 24 acrylic on canvas paintings that explore his ongoing embrace of light, color and meditative space. These paintings use specially formulated pigments that allow the viewer to consider the qualities of light as a naturally occurring and physical phenomenon.

“As a major patron of the arts, MGM Resorts is excited to provide visibility to exceptional artistic talent such as Kisho and to continue to foster relationships with artists from around the world,” said Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of Art & Culture for MGM Resorts. “Kisho’s artistic practice and beautiful work have provided incredible learning opportunities for our community and guests.”

Born in Osaka, Japan, Mwkaiyama spent his childhood on Mount Kova, one of the most prominent locations of Esoteric Buddhist temples. Deeply influenced by this, his work speaks to inner calm, peace and harmony with nature. In Buddhist practice there are six elements that comprise our universe: land, water, wind, fire, emptiness and consciousness. Mwkaiyama’s adaptation to their order—water, land, fire, consciousness, wind and emptiness—echoes the sensation of Las Vegas and reflects his specific experience of the city.

For his 24-painting artwork, Vendarta 100: Six Elements and the Seasons, Mwkaiyama has assigned a base color to represent each element arranged horizontally and a layer of four colors to represent the seasons, which descend vertically. New color is created as light intersects the layers of vertical and horizontal paint. Mwkaiyama carefully takes his time overlaying original iridescent hues to create a majestic gradation of 24 tones, thus illuminating our relationship to color and space through soft transitions.

While Mwkaiyama’s selection of hues is based on his own color design and aesthetic, the work recalls that of Tadaaki Kuwayama and Japanese minimalism. Like Kuwayama, Mwkaiyama’s approach is best considered on its own terms given his unique exploration of surface, color and light. The exchange and creation of beauty are central to Mwkaiyama’s dream.

Mwkaiyama said, “Because I believe the world is surrounded by the two sides of light and the darkness, by adding colors to the light and darkness in layers with my mind emptied, I create my work with the hope and prayer that some new material would emerge in front of me beyond my consciousness.”

In addition to commissioning artwork from Mwkaiyama, MGM Resorts Art & Culture’s recent exhibitions underscore the company’s commitment to supporting contemporary Japanese art. These include the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art exhibitions’ Primal Water, hand-picked selections of Contemporary Japanese art assembled by renowned curator Midori Nishizawa in 2018, and the current exhibition featuring Yayoi Kusama’s two works Narcissus Garden (1966/2013) and the Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009)–the first Infinity Mirrored Room exhibited in Las Vegas.

MGM Resorts Art & Culture focuses on commissioning, collecting, supporting and presenting modern and contemporary art in and around MGM Resorts destinations globally. Currently, the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection includes more than 800 pieces by over 200 artists.

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About Kisho Mwkaiyama

An esteemed and internationally recognized Japanese artist, Kisho Mwkaiyama (b. 1968, Osaka, Japan) spent his childhood in the region near Mount Koya, one of the most prominent locations of Esoteric Buddhist temples. He developed a deeply spiritual connection to the tranquility of his surroundings and began to explore these themes in his art, connecting his overall practice to fundamental questions of light and its expression through his work on canvas. Using gouache and wax as common materials, his work embraces contrast, pigment and tone to create a space where he explores the fundamental qualities of light and beauty.

Major public collections of Mwkaiyama’s works include Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Karuizawa. International institutional exhibitions of the artist include Rubin Museum of Art, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and UCLA Fowler Museum, Los Angeles.

About MGM Resorts Art & Culture

MGM Resorts Art & Culture focuses on commissioning, collecting, supporting and presenting contemporary art in and around MGM Resorts’ destinations globally. Currently the MGM Resorts Art Collection includes more than 800 pieces by over 200 artists.

MGM Resorts Art & Culture was established in 2016 to encompass all of MGM Resorts’ collections and varied art-related initiatives and partnerships to develop a comprehensive, multifaceted arts program. Reflecting the company’s core values of inclusivity and diversity, MGM Resorts Art & Culture aims to create special, accessible experiences for all audiences. Each project thoughtfully considers the artist, the environment, and the overall experience, recognizing the power of art to evoke emotion, engage the senses, and spark conversation. Art is prevalent throughout MGM Resorts distinctive world-class brands including Bellagio, ARIA, Vdara, MGM Grand, and Delano Las Vegas; as well as MGM National Harbor outside of Washington, D.C., MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, and internationally at MGM Macau and MGM Cotai.

Examples include works by Alice Aycock (National Harbor, Maryland), Jenny Holzer (ARIA, Las Vegas), Antony Gormley (ARIA, Las Vegas), Maya Lin (ARIA, Las Vegas), Robert Rauschenberg (Bellagio, Las Vegas), Nancy Rubins (Vdara, Las Vegas), James Turrell (ARIA, Las Vegas), among many others.

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