Tradition that hides in abstraction

Sep 22, 2011

Tradition that hides in abstraction

Abstraction came into vogue during a reinvigorated period of the 1950s and ’60s, following on from its introduction by experimental Japanese artists of the 1910s, who were influenced by European importations of Expressionism, Cubism and Futurism. As a painterly idiom, abstraction could claim for ...

The enduring reputation of Shigeru Aoki's brief career

Jun 30, 2011

The enduring reputation of Shigeru Aoki's brief career

Shigeru Aoki’s short life was “beset by all manner of bad luck, and he passed through it like a shooting star” wrote Hanijiro Sakamoto (1882-1969), one of the giants of post-WWII Western-style painting. Shigeru (1882-1911) was only 28 when he passed away, and his ...

Jun 16, 2011

'Takashi Hinoda — Alternative Muscles'

imura art gallery, kyoto Closes July 23 Ceramics artist Takashi Hinoda (b. 1968) creates freakish figures whose limbs are stretched and mashed, and re-coagulated in weird and fantastical ways. The legs of Hinoda’s “To Consume the World” (2011), for example, support not a torso ...

Fired-up tales of ceramics in wonderland

Jun 2, 2011

Fired-up tales of ceramics in wonderland

Craft was maligned in Japan’s Meiji Era (1868-1912) as the transposition of Western aesthetic theory denigrated it in relation to grand ideas of “fine art.” All the while, though, it was an important export industry and a core component of Japan’s contributions to various ...

'Yu Kiwanami Solo Exhibition'

May 12, 2011

'Yu Kiwanami Solo Exhibition'

imura art gallery, kyotoCloses May 28 Yu Kiwanami’s paintings from 2006-09 have been compared somewhat wrongheadedly to English painter Julian Opie’s because of their shared concern for the graphic quality of thick black contours and simplified forms and colors. While Opie retained distinctive individual ...

Divides in the Pure Land

Apr 29, 2011

Divides in the Pure Land

The portrait of Honen Shoin (13th century) is known in Japanese as “Kagami no Miei” (mirror portrait) and shows the famous Buddhist priest seated on a mat, slightly slumped and holding his nenju (rosary). For the title of another famous 13th-century depiction of a ...

It's a fine line between the eccentric and the experimental

Apr 15, 2011

It's a fine line between the eccentric and the experimental

Implicit in the idea of the “eccentric” painter is that the artist’s style seems to have come out of nowhere, breaks all the conventions, and stands alone as an example of unparalleled individuality that cannot be repeated. All the better if the painter’s biography ...

'Paul Klee: Art in the Making 1883-1940'

Apr 8, 2011

'Paul Klee: Art in the Making 1883-1940'

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Closes May 15 The American critic Clement Greenberg called the Swiss-born painter Paul Klee (1879-1940) a “small master” owing to his miniature formats. Synonymous with Klee’s increase in scale in the last decade of his life is ...

Conceptualizing old ideas into 'new' art

Apr 1, 2011

Conceptualizing old ideas into 'new' art

A persisting fear with conceptual art is that you are being made a fool of. Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s 2008 video works are ostensibly about cultural preconceptions and the difficulties of interpretation, but her participants are often left looking ignorant and unsophisticated. For the videos, she ...