The nature of Japanese lacquer art

Aug 14, 2013

The nature of Japanese lacquer art

Katsuyuki Shirako (b. 1984) is a lacquer artist, though not one who accords specific primacy to that medium. His fourth show at Kyoto’s eN arts in Kyoto, is predominantly photographs. Drawn from the artist’s “Connect” series, these images show a combination of his carefully ...

Get intimate with Ryota Aoki's work and discover its secrets

Jun 6, 2013

Get intimate with Ryota Aoki's work and discover its secrets

Known mostly for producing exquisite white ceramic ware, Ryota Aoki has about-turned for his current exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto. The overwhelming shift is to black wares: think practical, utilitarian tableware such as plates, cups, pitchers and vases. Inundated with orders, particularly from ...

Seeking impressions in the two-dimensional

May 30, 2013

Seeking impressions in the two-dimensional

The title of Yu Kiwanami’s “Confirmation of Happiness” (2013) is, in a sense, a kind of betrayal; for happiness cannot, in fact, be confirmed. A woman stands before a landscape, her head cropped off by the top edge of the picture in an artistic ...

In front and behind closed temple doors

Apr 25, 2013

In front and behind closed temple doors

While largely beneath the contemporary-art radar, painting for Japanese temples by the stars of the postwar art world is a relatively common activity, though largely restricted to nihonga.

Idiosyncrasies of the Kano school explored in Kyoto

Apr 11, 2013

Idiosyncrasies of the Kano school explored in Kyoto

Kano Masanobu (1434-1530) founded the Chinese-art influenced painting school that bears his family name and flourished in different forms through to the Meiji Era (1868-1912). A familiar tale is that as it became the dominant hierarchical painting academy of political and military patronage, it ...

Hitoko Urago's 'Connected': blot-tests of portraiture

Mar 7, 2013

Hitoko Urago's 'Connected': blot-tests of portraiture

Hitoko Urago pairs paintings — portraits with abstractions — though each work is not necessarily conceived at the same time. “Untitled (Lynda)” (2012), for example, depicts a profile of a black woman with big hair against a green background. She is paired with a ...

'What We See' is not always what you get

Feb 28, 2013

'What We See' is not always what you get

Rendered as “What We See” in English, the title of this show should perhaps more accurately follow the Japanese one, which would be: “Dream, Reality, Illusion?” “Video” art is now mostly moribund because technology has changed, leaving that form of expression as largely digitized ...

Breathing life into the forgotten and neglected

Feb 14, 2013

Breathing life into the forgotten and neglected

Painter Daisuke Fukunaga (b.1981) states: “If the world is the stage of a theater, I want to paint the bustle of the things waiting behind the blackout curtain rather than the heroine.” His motifs are of things forgotten and neglected, but unlike his earlier ...

Go with the flow from representational to abstract

Feb 14, 2013

Go with the flow from representational to abstract

For five years starting in 2007, Shinpei Kusanagi (b.1973) made monthly serialized paintings to accompany installments of Teru Miyamoto’s novel “Mizu no Katachi” (“The Shape of Water”) in the magazine éclat. Text and image had little to do with one another, though the small, ...