Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Only on the web...

I have to share these two cool online viewing tools I've been enjoying lately.  My web designer, Stephanie Krimmel, showed me the first, and the second I found while looking for more information about the Boston MFA's collection of Japanese postcards.  Both are beautiful examples of how the web can greatly enhance our enjoyment of art.  Yep, I said it.  The web can enhance our experience with art.  I know that borders on heresy in many circles, but I think you'll agree that these online exhibits go a long way toward elucidating two collections that would otherwise be difficult to get your mind and your eyes around, in a single sitting. And in the case of the first example, would be impossible to see in a visit to a single museum (check it out to learn more).  Does anyone else have favorite tools like these that they visit?  I'd love to add a sidebar list to Megane.

My first fave is the Seattle Art Museum's Deer Scroll exhibit.

(from the Deer Scroll)

The second is the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's exhibit of The Art of the Japanese Postcard

(one card from the Lauder Collection, MFA, Boston)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Solitude, by Naoko Matsubara

Japanese Canadian printmaker Naoko Matsubara (b. 1937) based the eleven black and white and color woodcuts of her portfolio, Solitude, on an chapter of the same name from Henry David Thoreau's, Walden (1854) which the famous naturalist and transcendentalist wrote during his years living alone on the shore of Walden Pond.  I am so excited to have the complete suite of these prints for sale and on exhibit in my gallery this summer.  Like Matsubara, who made a number of trips to Walden Pond as she designed her print series, I made a pilgrimage to Walden as a young teen with my family, during a summer-long cross country literary tour of the U.S.  As a child, I had readily absorbed my father's enthusiasm (he, a high school English teacher at the time) for the great New England writers and poets and in the ensuing years, I often recalled our excitement as we walked through dried leaves and around trees until we found the foundation stones of Thoreau's original cabin near the shore of Walden Pond.  Fast forward many years, and as I found my way into the field of Japanese prints, I was stuck to learn that someone else (imagine!) had also found a kindred spirit in the words and experiences of Thoreau, and remarkably, had translated her impressions into a set of Japanese prints!  It was as near to finding a message in a bottle as I had ever felt.  My initial excitement was quickly tempered though, when I found out how difficult is was going to be to find a complete folio of the prints.  Thirteen years later, I am thrilled to have this beautiful set -- these images that nearly spring off the page with joyous motion and power and infect us with Matsubara's thoughtful spirit, which has continued to pervade her work these many decades.  Sitting in my own gallery, writing to you about these prints some 20 years after the July day I spent on the edge of Walden Pond, I have to enjoy the moment and the sense that I am tying together two strands of my life. When the prints are sold, (and I encourage you to see the whole suite featured as the Special Exhibit during July and August at I will have been happy to have them for a while and will hope that the next owner will find as much pleasure in them as I have.