Building the Premier Club in Asia

Frederick Harris Gallery

The former Genkan Gallery was renamed in December 2010 to honor the late Dr Frederick Harris, a former Club president, longtime chair of the Genkan Gallery Committee, renowned artist and cultural ambassador whose profound contributions to the Club and the grander art world over the decades were plentiful.

The Frederick Harris Gallery houses a changing selection of fine artwork from local and internationally renowned artists. Exhibitions feature a new artist every month, with works ranging from oil paintings and traditional Japanese woodblock prints to ceramics and sculptures.

Much of the displayed artwork is available for purchase through the Member Services Desk. Sales of works begin at 6 pm on the first day of the exhibition.

Artist Exhibitions

Artists interested in exhibiting their artwork can complete an application at the Member Services Desk. Showcased artists are selected by the Frederick Harris Gallery Committee.

Featured Artists

Shobu Gakuen

December 22–January 18

The more than 100 residents of Shobu Gakuen in southern Japan have transformed the facility into a world of jewel-like color through their art.

The artists, who have Down syndrome, autism or other developmental disabilities, produce their works, which run the gamut from textiles and woodcraft to ceramics and painting, at the institute’s workshops.

The philosophy of Kagoshima-based Shobu Gakuen is to encourage its residents to harness the human instinct to create, build and mold the everyday objects and tools necessary for daily life.

“We put value on the members’ true individuality and their ways of expression, which is highly personal and original,” says Shobu Gakuen’s Saori Enomoto. “As a result, the creations carrying their voices bring us lots of energy and a sense of freedom.”

Club Members will be able to experience this artistic vitality for themselves at this month’s exhibition at the Frederick Harris Gallery.

“At this exhibition, you will see creations that are filled with life and feelings,” Enomoto explains. “Their creative approach—light in spirit and as natural as breathing—seems to epitomize true freedom in art.”

Since Shobu Gakuen’s inception in 1973, residents have exhibited their works, ranging from furniture to washi paper, at a myriad of festivals in every major city in Japan.

“The profound beauty of form [the artists] achieve forces us to reconsider our definition of the word ‘disabled,’” Enomoto says.

Mark Vassallo

January 19–February 8

When he was 20 years old, Londoner Mark Vassallo arrived in Japan by way of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. He was intent on studying Zen Buddhism.

For months, he lived at a temple in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture. He performed Buddhist rites day and night, striving to empty his mind and reach a state of Zen.

Now an accomplished photographer, the 43-year-old will exhibit a collection of his flower portraits at the Frederick Harris Gallery this month.

The tenets and dichotomies of Zen Buddhism are evident in Vassallo’s pure, stark images. According to the artist, the life cycle of a flower, from “birth” to death, represents complete and perfect beauty.

Vassallo’s approach to his subjects, which he treats the same as a photographer would a human model, is one of patience and respect. He continuously shoots the flowers from bud to blossom over several days.

“Each flower has her own distinctive character and temperament and is in constant dynamic motion,” he says. “They open to the warmth and close to shy away from the cold, turning and stretching always toward the light until they eventually give up their petals.”

For his work, Vasallo was awarded a Taylor Wessing London Elle commendation in 2011 and a 2008 award from the Art Directors Club of New York. His photographs are widely collected and are on display at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Yamanashi.