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Review of Ranna's® Essence of Memory

Discusses her ei-shodou calligraphy invention; Asian influences, especially Japanese, Chinese and Indian; and her works on paper and on organza.

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Eastern art is regularly explored by Western artists, quite often clumsily and half-heartedly. Ranna-Lesley Lachlan's current exhibition at Pinnacles Gallery clearly demonstrates that she is an artist extremely skilled in the use of other philosophies and artforms in her own art practice. Essence of Memory: Unspoken Territory and the Kami Way is an exhibition of recent work by Lachlan specifically dealing with Indian and Japanese art and philosophies.

The "Black" works use a style of calligraphy developed by Lachlan whilst living in Japan called Ei-shodou (literally meaning English and masterful calligraphy). The works transcribe Indian verses on silk [crystal] organza and at first seem totally unintelligible, like ancient Japanese calligraphy or pure abstract painting.

Review: Brett Adlington;
Photo: Udo Weitz
Townsville Bulletin,
Friday February 6, 1998

On peering closer one can see familiar letters and words emerging, forcing the viewer to contemplate. This is a show where you should take the time to sit down and think. It is not a show that jumps out with its meaning or basic visual representation.

This contemplation is aided by the artist's use of the kucheng. A Chinese musical instrument that is used as a bridge to bring together the Indian and Japanese elements of the show. Specifically this relates to Buddhism being taken from India to China, then from China to Japan along with other elements of Chinese culture.

The Japanese presence is shown in the "White" works that have been produced by arranging crumpled up pages of a Townsville telephone directory. As [Ranna] Lachlan is soon to leave these shores for the United States, they hold particular meaning in dealing with her memories of Townsville. By disposing of an effective means of communication she seems to be ridding herself of connections to Townsville.

The "White" works are visually pensive and calming, however, the calligraphic messages performed in the artist's Ei-shodou calligraphy method are harsh statements about negative human traits such as malice and slander. In the piece titled Henken (Prejudice) the phrase states:

Take the log out of your own eye ... you know the rest:
the 'other' is us."

Whilst tellingly the final work in the show, sadly Lachlan's last exhibition in Townsville, is the piece entitled Put it to Bed and Leave (I) (Culmination)...

(Brett Adlington, in Townsville Bulletin, Friday February 6, 1998, Townsville, Australia, p. 24.)


NOTE: After this last Townsville exhibition, Ranna® departed for the USA where she has exhibited and launched internationally, singular among Townsville artists. (See also

Ranna's work since 2000 is at

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Extended list of reviews, publications, exhibitions


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Catalogue, Washington D.C. 2000


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