The title of Jacob Hashimoto’s first print project is revealing: in lexicography, a lemma (singular of lemmata) is the base form of a term, such as would be used to head a dictionary entry. In mathematics, a lemma is a proven proposition employed in the attempt to solve a larger problem. In directing our attention to these adamantine, conceptual base elements Hashimoto suggests a parallel between these prints and the work for which he is best known: wall pieces and installations built from vast arrays of small kites. Made of paper or silk—some with bold patterns, others left blank—and bamboo, the kites are tied together and spaced out to form large sculptural forms, their layered vertical strings acting like the warp on a tapestry loom.
Though Hashimoto’s kite works exploit three-dimensional space, drawing is an important part of his practice, and his meticulous approach to planning and structure is clearly on view in these five large black-and-white etchings. Intersecting rectilinear pathways suggest circuitry schematics, the compositions unified by a regular pattern of thin vertical lines anchored at top and bottom of each print. The use of subtle aquatints and the faintest of plate tones, in contrast with the starkly polished areas, creates a complex tonal range.
Hashimoto’s installations are positioned so that viewers have access to both the front and back, where the grid of string holding everything together is revealed. Though he has occasionally used colored string, most of the time it is black, emphasizing its quality as drawn line.
This quality of drawing is also present in the etchings. The composition is anchored by bold territories of light and dark, while patterns and areas of line and tone hint at other elements deep within. Tangential polygons bisect the shapes that adhere to the X – Y axis, creating alternate structures within and behind and establishing new grids.
We might posit these grids as the lemmata of Hashimoto’s art; they do not stand alone but are foundational—the fragile certainties on which all else hangs.