Frederick Harris GalleryThe 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.
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.
Bingata: Old and New
The traditional Okinawan art form of resist-dyed cloth, or bingata, dates back centuries to when the southern isles were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom. As East Asia’s center of trade during the 15th century, the kingdom hosted merchants from as far afield as India, who not only brought goods, but also art.
The Okinawan bingata artists used pigments mostly found in nature, such as chalk, powdered seashells, cochineal, vermilion and sulfur, to create vivid patterns and images of the local flora and fauna on woven cloth.
This month, two Japanese artists from the Kinjo Bingata Studio and the Okame Bingata Studio bring variations of this vibrant art form to the Frederick Harris Gallery.
Naha native Morihiro Kinjo says his kimono designs represent the gorgeous Okinawan landscape and capture the islands’ traditions and culture. His piece “Coral Island” is modeled after an island in the Kerama archipelago while another work was inspired by the yellow kimono worn by royalty and nobility during the Ryukyu era.
“In China, it has been said that the color yellow is deified because yellow is the same color as the sun,” says Kinjo. “Imagine that a royal princess and a queen wear such colors under the sun of Okinawa. It must have been so bright and gorgeous. Creating such a splendid atmosphere is one of the distinctive features of bingata.”
During her schooling, co-exhibitor Kayoko Yamamoto was impressed by the colors and patterns of bingata and today uses the technique to produce images found mainly on Honshu, such as cherry blossoms, peonies, willow and swallows. Over the years, she has used soybeans and natural minerals to make unique pigments for hanging scrolls, kimono accessories and other dyed-cloth works.
“The final product is so beautiful and the colors are soothing,” she says. “Our dyes are handmade. We brush layers upon layers of colors to make our works. We hope to preserve the history and culture of Ryukyu, as well as Japan, with this dyeing technique.”
CWAJ Associate Show
September 29–October 19
From Vincent van Gogh’s still-life baskets of fruit to Andy Warhol’s Campbell soup cans, artists throughout history have put food at the center of their works.
Ahead of the annual CWAJ Print Show at the Club next month, the College Women’s Association of Japan’s Associate Show, titled “From the Palate to the Palette,” highlights the artwork of five printmakers living in Japan who have made food the subject of their work.
Ayumi Anzai chose peanuts as an avatar for warring humans in her lithographs, which reveal great humor and poignancy.
Sohee Kim’s prints of people in Spam elevators and capsule hotel sandwiches, meanwhile, are a playful commentary on contemporary life and our relationship with food.
Cutting-edge lithographer Yukie Kishi creates colorful vignettes of delicate coffee cups and mouthwatering desserts, but he also forms bold graphic monuments from ramen containers and glass goblets.
In Osaka native Shoji Miyamoto’s water-based woodblock prints, sushi are transformed into a structure reminiscent of a shrine’s torii gate or depicted amid floating rice in a snow globe-like setting.
“The focus of my work is foods, such as sushi and fruit,” he says. “We eat them without paying much attention to the colors or shapes, which, in fact, are very interesting when you observe them carefully.”
In the same way, Noriko Nene draws seemingly straightforward depictions of classic Japanese food, but, on closer viewing, the teapots are magically levitating and the chopsticks are being wielded by invisible hands.
All these artists remind us that when we celebrate food, we celebrate life.