An axis for artistic and creative-types of the Asian persuasian… Redefining Otaku Culture.

Exhibit in Kyoto features collaboration of anime and 400-year-old Rinpa school of painting

 

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RocketNews 24 (by Kay):

This is what happens when you combine centuries-old traditional Japanese painting with modern anime, and we love it!

If you’re interested in traditional Japanese art, you may be familiar with the Rinpa school of painting, which has a history that can be traced all the way back to the 17th century. It so happens that this year marks the 400th anniversary since one of the school’s founders, Hon’ami Kōetsu, established an artistic community (geijutsumura) in the Takagamine area of Kyoto, and an exciting commemorative event titled the “Rinpa x Anime Homage Exhibit” is now going on in the very same city of Kyoto, courtesy of brilliant artwork produced by the anime/comic merchandise retailer CHARA-ANI.

But before we go on, here’s a little bit more background on Rinpa art. The Rinpa school, which has a heavy emphasis on painting but also includes other crafts such as ceramics and lacquerware as well as calligraphy, is thought to have been founded by Hon’ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu around the early 17th century and later consolidated in the latter half of the century by the prominent artist brothers  Ogata Kōrin and Ogata Kenzan. The name Rinpa is actually a combination of the last syllable of Kōrin’s name and the word “pa” for school.

The school’s art style is known for its bold design compositions, use of silver and gold leaf in the background, and repeated use of recognizable patterns. While natural scenes including flowers and trees are often depicted, animals and people from folktales are also common subjects, like the deities depicted in the famous ”Wind and Thunder Gods” folding screens (Fūjin Raijin-zu) by Sōtatsu.

▼ The magnificent Wind and Thunder Gods folding screen by Sōtatsu:

Fujin

So, taking all of that into consideration, we think you’ll understand why we might be excited by the idea of a collaboration between anime and the Rinpa school, which has a history of producing such notable works of art. And what’s attracting particular attention in this “Rinpa x Anime Homage Exhibit” are the works featuring the long-loved characters created by the manga master Osamu Tezuka himself!

The glittering gold and silver, along with the texture of Japanese paper, have turned Tezuka’s characters into breathtaking, timeless works of art.

▼ Here’s Tezuka’s phoenix (Hi no Tori), a perfect subject for Rinpa-style art, depicted in brilliant gold.

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▼ The father and son lion duo from Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Taitei) looks full of life in this piece.

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In addition to the collaboration with Tezuka anime, you’ll also be able to see on display Rinpa-style art featuring the busy-as-ever Hello Kitty, as well as characters from Lucky Star (Raki☆Suta).

The best part is that you can actually order and purchase some of these illustrations at the exhibit, and they apparently have some stationery and smartphone accessories on sale as well.

The Rinpa x Anime Homage Exhibit will run at the Kyoto Loft department store in the Mina Kyoto shopping complex until January 17, 2016 (except for January 1, when Mina Kyoto will be closed). It could be a fun destination for art and anime fans who are in Kyoto for the new year!

Source: CHARA-ANI websitePR TIMES press release

Ikenaga Yasunari’s dream-like paintings of women using the traditional Japanese style of Nihonga

Ikenaga Yasunari - Painting

Beautiful Decay (by Hayley Evans): 

Ikenaga Yasunari paints tranquil portraits of women immersed in elegant floral patterns. His work is a curious blend of traditional Japanese-style paintings (nihonga) and modern imagery. Whereas nihonga manifests itself in Yasunari’s bold, monochromatic contrasts and the absence of outlines in the patterns, the subjects are all donned in modern clothing, and their hair and makeup also convey a distinctly contemporary style. Yasunari’s chosen materials are based in tradition, involving a combination of sumi-ink (soot ink) and mineral pigments painted on linen cloth. In exploring modern subjects using traditional techniques, he reinvests an older cultural, artistic practice with an ongoing significance.

The beauty of Yasunari’s work arrives in the interplay between complexity and serenity; much like Gustav Klimt’s decorative paintings wherein patterns coalesce around a highlighted female figure, Yasunari’s works strike a balance between the undulating, seamless background and the subject embraced in its flow. The gentle sepia tones likewise enhance the paintings’ quiet, almost autumnal, atmosphere. Blending gentle imagery with harmonious compositions, Yasunari’s works are meditative portraits embodying youth, reverie, and dreams.

Visit Yasunari’s website to view more of his works.

Ikenaga Yasunari - Painting

Ikenaga Yasunari - Painting

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Sonya Fu’s digital dreamscape paintings

Sonya Fu - PaintingBeautiful Decay (by Stephanie Chan):

Sonya Fu’s digital paintings seek to open the third eye and unlock the limbo between wakefulness and sleep. Rendered in soft vibrant colors, her characters are lit up, though from within or without we are uncertain. Shapes and bubbles of light play on their faces, like projections from an unknown dimension. Their half-closed dreaming eyes add to the eerie yet somehow peaceful quality of the paintings, as though we’re witnessing some mystical wandering of the mind.

Art is a powerful visual language and creating art is a calming and therapeutic process,” Fu says. “I would like to share with people my dreamscape, its beauty and its oddity.

It might be an eerie creature, a whimsical scenery or a disturbed beauty who speaks words of wisdom – they are all embodiments of my subconscious mind.

Sonya Fu - Painting

Sonya Fu - Painting

Sonya Fu - Painting

Sonya Fu - PaintingSonya Fu - PaintingSonya Fu - PaintingSonya Fu - PaintingSonya Fu - PaintingSonya Fu - Painting

Case Studyo collaborates with Tokyo-based artist Tomoo Gokita for ‘A Bathing Beauty’ sculpture

Case Studyo has collaborated with Tokyo-based artist Tomoo Gokita to create a sculpture made of bronze based off of his 2014 A Bathing Beauty painting. Rendered in monochromatic hues, the 3D figures reflect Gokita’s signature style of work where the “formal shapes and souvenirs of black and white colors are blended with each other.

Reminiscent of a black and white Hollywood movie, the sculptures measure in at 28 x 22cm and are packaged in a custom silkscreened wooden box that comes complete with a signed certificate of authenticity.

Rainbow Tse, a teenage Hong Kong artist to watch at the Asia Contemporary Art Show

Tse with “BLUR”

Coconuts Hong Kong:

Hong Kong is turning international heads for its blossoming art scene, with the city now going Art Basel-crazy every year, and art shows of every conceivable theme piggybacking off its success.

But the city is in danger of having its own artists’ voices buried by the influx of works from established names of the West, whether Pablo Picasso or Paul McCarthy.

Thankfully, the Asia Contemporary Art Show is making sure to showcase local artists like Rainbow Tse, only 18 years old.

Her watercolors depict the beauty of the city in a way that only a true local can. She transforms a mundane car ride – one familiar to hundreds of commuters – into a larger-than-life, dreamy scene, where car lights and sunlight mingle to create beautiful, vibrant colors.

Compositionally, I focus on the light source of the piece,” Tse told us via email. “I often use the wet-on-wet watercolor technique in my paintings, mainly because it is able to create a very flowing and soft effect.

Tse chooses to paint familiar Hong Kong scenes to tap into the emotions people may have already associated with them.

One environment can hold so many different memories and experiences to different people,” she explains. “So by expressing certain moods and atmospheres in a painting, it can draw the audience into experiencing the scene and evoking memories of their own.

I am very excited about exhibiting at the Asia Contemporary Art Show,” she gushed. “I remember visiting this show last year, looking at all the great artists and their work. I am very happy to be part of it this year!

Tse, only 18 years old, will be exhibiting her paintings for the first time at this year’s edition of the show. The young artist hopes to inspire busy Hongkongers to remember to pause and look around them.

Individuals often rush from one place to another and don’t notice the environment around them,” she laments. “Through art they can experience the beauty that is in this world.”

What: Asia Contemporary Art Show
When: March 12 – 15, 2015. Get the times here
Where: 40 – 44th floors, Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, Admiralty. (Google Maps)
Price: VIP: HKD260; Standard: HKD180 (admits two if purchased online; admits one if purchased at the door).
Tickets: Get them here

 

“Golden Hour” (Sold)

 

“The Road Back” (Sold)

“Workplace” 

 

 “Sunset Saunter” (Sold)

 

“Cyber” (Sold)

 

“Rooftop” (Sold)

 

“Red Glow”

“Festivity” (Sold)

 

“After Work”

 

“Captivated”

 

“6 PM” (Sold)

 

Street Art: POW WOW! Taiwan- Summer Episode Video

Back in September, Hypebeast published a write-up about CANLOVE, the artistic duo comprised of DJ Neff and Paul Ramirez dedicated to transforming empty spray cans into the very thing they’re used to produce: art.

Over the summer, POW! WOW! Taiwan and Fubon Art Foundation enlisted their help to create colorful installations out of 900 discarded canisters, all painstakingly collected by volunteers post-festival. In October, a quick 30 second trailer to a short called the Summer Episode was released, which offered a glimpse of Neff and Ramirez at work, plus a few shots of some murals. The full clip is now up online, and not only does it feature CANLOVE cutting and spraying away for the project, but we also get brief commentary from artists Will Barras and Reach about their thoughts and experiences painting large walls.

Takashi Murakami “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is currently showcasing his major exhibition, titled ”In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow,” at Gagosian Gallery New York. A range of new paintings and sculptures was created as a result of Murakami’s exploration of Japanese art made following historic natural disasters.

Combining classical techniques with the latest technologies, the artworks feature elements of religious symbols, self-portraits, science fiction and manga imagery. The ”In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” exhibition will run until January 17, 2015, so make sure to check it out if you’re in the area.

 

Gagosian Gallery New York
555 W. 24th St.
New York, NY 10011
United States

 

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

 Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Image of Takashi Murakami "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" @ Gagosian Gallery New York

Yayoi Kusama becomes the most expensive living female artist with the $7.1 million sale of ‘White 28′

Raking in an earth shattering $853 million in profits, Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Evening on Wednesday smashed its May auction’s $745 million profit record, selling 75 of 80 listed works.

Proof she’s still killing the game at 85, Japanese installation artist and painter Yayoi Kusama set a record of her own, becoming the most expensive living female artist of all time with the $7.1 million sale of ‘White 28′ from her iconic 1960 ‘Infinity Nets’ series. The Louis Vuitton collaborator topped a record set three years earlier with the $6.6 million sale of Cady Noland’s ‘Oozewald’.

The New York auction also saw the $26 million sale of Jeff Koons‘ ‘Balloon Monkey (Orange)’ and two pieces by Andy Warhol –’Triple Elvis [Ferus Type]‘ and ‘Four Marlons’ for a dizzying $150 million.

Exhibition Review: Zhai Liang – “New York is a Big Liar”

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Beyond China Town:

 

Zhai Liang’s (翟倞) three-month stay in New York City for his residency at Fou Gallery was his first time outside of his home country of China.  New York is a Big Liar(“纽约是个大骗子” / “紐約是個大騙子”) his first US solo exhibition, is a visual diary of what he saw.  Like many visitors, he traversed the streets, people watched, and explored museums, but he has a unique presentation of a familiar city and punctuates it with a provocative title.  Over nine watercolor paintings, he shifts from reality and plain observation to fantasy and overt social criticism.

When you tour the exhibition, imagine yourself on a tour of New York.  Start on the left and work your way clockwise around the gallery.  A length of windows roughly splits the exhibition in two and presents a view of the city, an intermission, as you walk from one side of the gallery to the other. 

Absent from the hodge podge of scenes are the typical New York City identifiers — the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, bodegas, brownstones, street signs.   In stripping away the distraction of a backdrop, the focus is on what Zhai has chosen to remember.  They are recognizable components of New York that everybody, natives and tourists alike, see.

“Still Pigeon” and “One Just Stand There Staring Blankly, When Another Just Pass By…” are inspired by typical street scenes.  Why is the pigeon still?  They are never still.  Two men on the street.  Just an observation.

You may notice that “Still Pigeon” is slightly narrower than its frame.  Exhibition curator and Fou Gallery co-owner Echo He explained that Zhai took advantage of this accidental mismeasurement and cleverly recovered by painting two spots on the mat board to give the area within the frame the appearance of a painter’s sketchbook. Recalling Magritte’s The Treachery of Images, the pigeon is not a pigeon.  From the very start, appearances are questioned.

 


“STILL PIGEON”, 2014
“静止的鸽子”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
12 X 16.1 IN. (30.5 X 40.6 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 


“ONE JUST STAND THERE STARING BLANKLY, WHEN ANOTHER JUST PASS BY…”, 2014
“一个在发呆,另一个碰巧路过”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
16.1 X 12 IN. (40.6 X 30.5 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 

“The Same Name” 3 and “The Same Name” 4 come from his visit to the American Museum of Natural History.  One is a straightforward representation of a human skull while the other looks like one of those uncanny reconstructed faces.  Placed slightly higher than eye-level, looking up at them is like looking up the evolutionary tree.

 

“The Same Name” 3, 2014 “同一个名字”3 Watercolor on Paper 纸上水彩 10 x 8 in. (25 x 20 cm) © 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊
“THE SAME NAME” 3, 2014
“同一个名字”3

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
10 X 8 IN. (25 X 20 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 


“THE SAME NAME” 4, 2014
“同一个名字”4

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
10 X 8 IN. (25 X 20 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 

With the sarcastic title “Appreciate”, he mocks idle museum goers (who I initially believed to be subway riders).  Commentary and cynicism are becoming more apparent.  The Little Italy a capellagroup in “Sing a Song” could be joyful but they are just busking for tourist dollars.  As Zhai shows in their postures, they’re so casual about it.

Zhai’s interest in groups of people who share a common purpose is an intriguing.

 


“APPRECIATE”, 2014
“欣赏”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
12 X 16.1 IN. (30.5 X 40.6 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 


“SING A SONG”, 2014
“唱一首歌”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
12 X 16.1 IN. (30.5 X 40.6 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 

In the press release, the images are said to “suddenly emerge from a void space”, as if they have been hidden and are now revealing themselves to us.  From another perspective, they are forming, imprinted like a memory in a blank space.  Removed from their environment into a barren void, even the most mundane subjects are surreal and silent.  I’m reminded of the mood in Edward Hopper’sNighthawks.  Take away everything but the people, and you have something that approaches a work from this exhibition.

If you’ve followed the suggested route, in the second half of the exhibition along the long wall of the gallery, you sense that the anonymous visitor is starting to see things not as they physically are but as he believes them to be.  He’s being overtaken by his opinions.

Sigmar Polke and David Lynch become one in “Sigmar Lynch”.  The Tennis Player (Tennisspieler)’s “beautiful and bland” (as described Hal Foster) charmer morphs with Eraserhead’s everyman Henry Spencer in the ultimate body horror.  It’s a view from the side as if it could not be viewed from directly from the front.

 

"Sigmar Lynch"
“SIGMAR LYNCH”, 2014
“西格玛∙林奇”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
12 X 16.1 IN. (30.5 X 40.6 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 

In the surreal “Dark Heart of the America”, a scene from a social gathering — perhaps a party at home, business function, gallery reception — is reduced to its basic elements heads (with great looking hair), faces, and drinks.  Two smiling and attentive people are face to face with a literal dark heart.  Do they notice?  Do they care?  Is this reality perceived through a sixth sense or is he being judgmental?

 


“DARK HEART OF THE AMERICA”, 2014
“美国黑暗之心”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
16.1 X 12 IN. (40.6 X 30.5 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 

The visitor is detached and wholly consumed by his disapproval in the abstract “Pinocchio’s Face”where even inoccuous pieces of paper on tabletop are seen to represent the titular liar.  Pareidolia meets paranoia.

 


“PINOCCHIO’S FACE”, 2014
“匹诺曹的脸”

WATERCOLOR ON PAPER 纸上水彩
16.1 X 12 IN. (40.6 X 30.5 CM)
© 2014 翟倞, 致谢否画廊

 

Zhai’s painting process reflects his strong intuition and talent.  He applies watercolor paint to paper without first drawing or outlining the images.  As “Still Pigeon” shows, he adapts as needed.  The results are surprisingly detailed.  Folds of clothes, layers of feathers, facial features, and even individual fingers have been given form, adding a strange realism to the figures that from a distance appear as indistinct colors and shapes but are anonymous and indeterminate even up close.  It’s actually quite a strange effect.  You see the painting from afar and move closer expecting to see details but they are never quite defined.

Fou’s smart framing of the paintings in near invisible frames and sparse placement of them against a high white wall expand the voids where his painted subjects exist.  The flood of natural light in the gallery illume the textures Zhai has deftly created and the muted earth tone colors he has chosen.

Zhai is very aware that titles influence the viewing experience and leads the viewer with his titles.  It’s no mistake that quotation marks are part of the titles of the exhibition and paintings.  The twist is that the the words are not his own, but belong to an anonymous visitor whom Zhai has said is like himself, but has a different personality and is cynical.  Whose New York experience did we just experience?  Has Zhai overheard an anonymous visitor and witnessed his descent into cynicism and delusion?  Who is the person talking to?  Is it really Zhai hiding behind the quotation marks?

Fou displays the works without titles.  Like New Yorker cartoon caption contests, we’re given a chance to interpret the familiar scene and to try to figure out how they all make New York a big liar.

 

The exhibition is on view at Fou Gallery, 535 Dean Street, Apt 507, Brooklyn, through November 15, 2014.  The gallery is open 2 – 6 on Saturdays and open by appointment.

POW! WOW! Taiwan: Summer Episode Video Trailer

 

The festivities of this year’s POW! WOW! Taiwan may seem done for now, but the festival’s influence and effect on the Chinese state cannot be understated. Amongst the myriad events this year, POW! WOW! teamed up with the Fubon Art Foundation to commission a joint mural project with L.A. duo CANLOVE, Will Barras, and REACH. Dubbed “Summer Episode,” the project added a sense of depth to the burgeoning art scene in Taipei, sure to foster under POW! WOW! residencies and other positive projects.

As we anticipate the visual postcard from Summer Episode, enjoy a brief trailer above. If in the Taipei area, be sure to drop by Hua Tunan’s live painting exhibition at Zheng Yi Projects – which starts up on October 11.