These drawings by Yubiko Ota made a huge impact when you walked in the room and looked at that wall. They were powerful. They were drawn with a thick black pen or marker and used repetitive patterns like trendy Zen Tangles do, but Ota infused them with originality. They were both on trend but yet reminiscent of tribal art from Africa or Polynesia.
Crosses in the ears? Is this a Christian reveller at a festival wearing a mask? Look at the ruff around the neck. Is it a Venetian merrymaker?
This one is my favourite. Catfish whiskers? It reminds me of John A. Zoidberg from Futurama. I doubt that this cartoon series has been released in Japan.
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A friend of mine bought this Venetian masked person to take home with her.
Is this a Cat Woman or a Cat Man? Are those cat paws or tails hanging in front?
The faces remind me of African art, but the pantalooned leg that also makes a noise seems more European. What do you think?
My friend also took home this powerful drawing. What do you think all those faces signify? Diversity? A nation and its people? Stress? Your guess is as good as mine.
Two years ago Space Galleria invited many artists to pay tribute to Takeshi Ishikawa by using his Gamory prints to make new artwork. This time Ishikawa accepted the challenge of making art with the paper made by mentally challenged or disabled people at Ma’arui Hiroba.
Can you guess what he used to colour the paper before mounting each one on canvas? The four on the left were dipped in coffee. The other four were dipped in red or white wine.
When he dipped the paper into the red wine, the paper began to disintegrate! The paper is composed of bits and pieces of torn paper; it has no long fibres to hold it together. Now you see how fragile and challenging this paper can be. Ishikawa had to handle the paper much more carefully after that.
These drawings by Fumi Sakinaga look like tie-dyed T-shirts but they are not. They are quite deceptive in their simplicity.
Look closely at this one. Do you see the pen drawing? There are hills, but you can probably see the small town on the right much more clearly than the landscape.
Many people in Japan love fireworks! It is not an unusual topic to draw, especially in summer when the skies are filled with bursts of colour and loud booms at festivals. Do the colourful yukata that young women wear to festivals resemble flowers or fireworks?
Tomo Ohashi’s small paintings of animals might have been the most popular pieces in the show. She did not use oil paint or acrylics. She used powdered pigments that are mixed with a natural binder, such as a resinous glue that comes in hard sticks and has to be melted before use. Paintings using these powdered pigments are regarded as Eastern rather than Western paintings. Although the technique came from China, it is called nihonga or Japanese painting (Nihon + ga). Nihon is one name for the country in Japanese.
The results are similar to what you get with gouache, but nihonga is more transparent. It requires many layers and lots of patience.
Believe it or not, Ran Hishikawa’s paintings are also nihonga. Her style is a bit unusual, since it uses very bright colours.
If you look carefully at the leaves, you can see where the lighter green paint was applied in uneven layers and then dried. The bright orange peeks through.
Yoshinobu Mogami’s nihonga paintings show you the nature of the mediums used. The paper was rough and very porous. Any liquid applied directly would probably bleed a bit. The other nihonga painters probably applied a base coat or two to get their smoother finishes and detail. The colours were applied one by one, layer by layer.
Another traditional medium in Asian art is ink, and I think that is what Etsu Muranishi used in her work. If you look carefully, you can see her signature in the lower right corner. It looks like a red square with some lines and dots inside. in many countries where China’s cultural influence existed for centuries, artwork is often signed with a stamp that has a stylized version of your name.
These multimedia pieces by Shinobu Sato look like leather but are still the same recycled paper that everybody else used! You can imagine these in a minimalist setting. They look a lot more expensive than they actually are. And we all know that it costs more to have something with simple lines than it does to get something decorated with frills and bows, right?
These look like tanned leather that has been stitched. Sewing with paper is difficult. Your fingers get sore from pushing the needle through the hard, unforgiving paper. She still managed to embroider French dots!
Although only a few of the artists are pictured here and we have included a few visitors, we want to thank everybody who came by the gallery and supported a good cause. I also ant to thank those who have read these posts and commented. If you would like to buy any of the pieces you have seen here or want to see more of the work of some of the artists, please let me know and I can see what I can do. Some probably cannot speak in English but most probably understand written English. If not, I can be the intermediary.
What will Masako Otani’s next challenge be?