September Asia Week Gallery Exhibition
Working with art in various media and from a wide range of periods is a remarkably energizing and rewarding process. In this fall's Asia Week exhibition, Japanese Paintings and Works of Art, I am
delighted to present an episodic grouping of works of art from several centuries.
Mastery of media is a theme common to many of the works in the exhibition, with a notable example being Herons in Summer Rain by Fujii Setsuden (active 1890s-1910s). The artist creates a wonderful asymmetry with the imposing and massive tree trunk, which he paints from a perspective near the base of the tree, looking up. The herons - their necks tucked down, huddled against the rain - meanwhile are seen almost from the side, a perspective that lets him render them with sharply defined and exquisite detail. In contrast, Setsuden displays the finest of touches in his use of wash to create the sensation of a steady, gentle drizzle and mist. Overall, the screens are a tour de force of both composition and artistic technique.
Another large pair of six-panel screens on view at our gallery exhibition is Pine Trees on a Beach by Kawashima Baikyu
(born 1896). Both pairs of screens are examples of early 20th century artists exploring new approaches to traditional subjects during a period that brought remarkable energy and creativity to the arts of Japan.
Also in the exhibition is a group of elegant baskets by twentieth-century masters from the Kanto and Kansai regions. I am especially fond of the three baskets by the Iizuka family: Hosai II, Shoun, and Shokansai. In addition there are exquisite gold lacquers decorated with autumn motifs.
More in-depth discussions of the works on view are presented in Erik Thomsen 2013: Japanese Paintings and Works of Art, a fully illustrated publication that provides commentary and information about works in the current exhibition.