Tabula Rasa (Latin: "scraped tablet") is often translated as "blank slate". An empirical premise positing experience as the sole author of identity, applied metaphorically, the term implies the blank slate of pre-cognition; potentiality without prejudice.

In Return to Tabulae Rasae, Part Two of Barbara Hashimoto's solo show at Xiem Gallery, this critically acclaimed LA-based artist presents a new body of work. Hashimoto's 15-year exploration of the book form evolved - through sculpture, performance and installation, from the initial censoring, binding, incineration and final cracking open of fired ceramic books, to evocative constructions of neo-narrative ceramic tablets. Relinquishing such narrative accretion to explore the dynamics of erasure, in this show the artist eschews cultural critique in favor of a liminal exploration of the "scraped tablet" and succeeds masterfully in rendering literal translation figurative.


Return To Tabulae Rasae says more with less. Interrogating essence and conflating space with time, Hashimoto illuminates the theme of personal odyssey and dares to postulate, via the absence of presence, an absence of absence.

Reflecting on her choice of titles How Comes It To Be Furnished? and Return to Tabulae Rasae, the artist cites John Locke (1632-1704), credited with initiating the concept of the Tabula Rasa, or blank slate, as a preliminary stage of cognitive and affective development. The following lines are from John Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding":

Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas. How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, experience.


by Suzette Munnik | Director, Xiem Gallery