Photos by GION
JANUARY 9 - FEBRUARY 22, 2020
Cotton Candy, 2019
Natural pigment (gofun, mineral pigment), platinum paint on kozo paper mounted on wood panel
51.3 x 63.8 x 0.6 inches (130.3 x 162 x 1.5 cm)
SEIZAN Gallery is pleased to present Tiny Night, Tiny Light, a solo exhibition of Eri Iwasaki. Having worked with the artist for over twenty years on a number of high-profile exhibitions and projects including the 2019 iteration of Asia Week New York, SEIZAN Gallery is thrilled to be showcasing Iwasaki in her first New York solo exhibition. Tiny Night, Tiny Light will bring together a selection of Eri Iwasaki’s iconic female portraits from the past ten years and explore the artist’s rise to the forefront of the contemporary Nihonga movement.
Taking inspiration from traditional Japanese painting techniques as well as Buddhist art and contemporary manga, Iwasaki’s portraits are a poetic exploration of her subject’s innermost thoughts and dreams. After beginning her career in Nihonga, traditional Japanese painting, at the age of seventeen, Iwasaki began to experiment with the materials and subject matter of the genre. She quickly became known for her unique technique of enrobing her figures in unending swirls of platinum paint, as seen in her large-scale paintings Cotton Candy and A Princess Never Sleeps, where Iwasaki’s delicate lines float around her subjects like escaping thoughts that cannot be contained.
Two of Iwasaki’s most recent portraits, her gold-embossed Tiny Light, Tiny Night and Distant Light, the World Begins, both from 2019, are the highlights of the exhibition and explore the long influence of Buddhist art on Iwasaki’s practice. The pair of paintings feature the image of a young child, the daughter of one of the artist’s friends who has long acted as her muse. Iwasaki depicts the girl facing forward and then to the side, resplendent on a golden background and with a serene expression on her face. The image is reminiscent of ancient Japanese paintings of Amida Buddha, brought to life by Iwasaki for the 21st century.
Eri Iwasaki will be present at the opening reception on Thursday, January 9, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Prior to the opening reception, SEIZAN Gallery will be holding a live painting session with Iwasaki from 4:00 to 6:00 pm where the artist will be demonstrating contemporary Nihonga painting methods.
The catalog for the exhibition with an accompanying essay by Daria Melnikova, Postdoctoral Scholar at Columbia University, will be available at the gallery. READ UPDATED ESSAY BY DARIA MELNIKOVA