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July 10 - July 26, 2019

Eri Iwasaki

Fleurs, 2011

Mineral pigments, gofun, black silver leaf on Kozo paper mounted on wood panel

Capping off a successful first year as an international gallery and the opening of SEIZAN Gallery’s Chelsea branch, the gallery will open its 2019 Summer Exhibition on July 10th, 2019. The exhibition showcases recent works by Toru Fukuda, Eri Iwasaki, Noriyuki Kobayashi, Takashi Seto, Ken Shiozaki, Kengo Takahashi, Junya Tsubota, Yohei Yashima, and Shigemi Yasuhara.  


Toru Fukuda (b. 1994)

Toru Fukuda began developing his unique sculpting technique while still in high school, blending traditional Japanese inlay with natural wood elements and his imagination to create life-sized, free-standing sculptures of insects and plants. Meticulously blending craft and art, Fukuda takes advantage of the wood’s natural hues and textures, solely utilizing unpainted wood from naturally growing trees to create his pieces. This intensely laborious process, which Fukuda refers to as 3D wood inlay, captures the details and spirit of its subjects, creating an effective illusion that the insects are actually alive and have simply alighted on their elegantly carved bases for a movement before preparing to take flight once more. 

Eri Iwasaki (b. 1968)

Eri Iwasaki’s childhood drawings of her favorite manga characters and interest in Buddhist paintings and sculptures led her to pursue the traditional Japanese painting methods of Nihonga. While adhering to Nihonga’s prescribed techniques and pigments, her works have an expressive range that moves freely beyond the genre’s boundaries and transforms the inner feelings of people who live vigorously in the moment into “forms” that convey gentleness and solemnity.

Noriyuki Kobayashi (b. 1986)

Working from the belief that one thread connects all life, Noriyuki Kobayashi forms his subject matter with thin gold lines that intersect to create a woven pattern full of life. The geometrically sublime results are graceful landscapes and dynamically posed animals that race across the sky. Kobayashi's utilization of traditional materials and techniques mixed with vibrant subjects celebrates the brilliance and interconnected nature of all living things.

Takashi Seto (b. 1974)

Textile artist Takashi Seto was inspired to revive ancient Japanese dyeing techniques after reading about several long-forgotten methods in a 17th-century fabric book. The complex process, which involves lacquer, silver leaf, and gofun power, prints fine outlines of animals and buildings onto wafer-thin canvases of silk. Seto received his Master’s degree from Tokyo University of the Arts. 

Ken Shiozaki (b. 1972)

Forming the basis of his works around the myths and folklore of ancient Japan, Ken Shiozaki mixes traditional Japanese styles with contemporary motifs and pop culture references. His work is characterized by his impeccable skill and detail in rendering vivid conceptualizations of Mt. Fuji, sparring dragons, and humorous demons. Shiozaki has a Master’s degree in Nihonga from Tama Art University and has been featured in high-profile exhibitions and art fairs across Japan and the United States.    

Kengo Takahashi (b. 1982)

The recipient of the 2018 Geidai Emerald Prize, metal sculptor Kengo Takahashi is one of Japan’s fastest rising stars. Takahashi’s signature series, Flower Funeral, uses ultra-thin metal casting to create animal skulls entirely made up of delicate aluminum flowers. Capturing a life in the midst of both decaying and blossoming, Takahashi has catapulted metal arts in Japan forward with his innovative use of technology. Sensing the world’s need for positive sociocultural identification, Takahashi’s current works strive to preserve familiar icons of life and culture through permanent metal casts while at the same moment presenting them in a new, fresh way. He is presently pursuing a post-graduate degree at Tokyo University of the Arts, School of Fine Arts. 

Junya Tsubota (b. 1974)

As a seasoned Nihonga artist, Junya Tsubota celebrates the four seasons of Japan within his work. Particularly concentrating on natural phenomena and forms, such as water and sky, he contrasts these elements with unearthly bright color. His central focus with this melding of styles and subject matter is to bring a new form of harmony into the space the painting is displayed in. Tsubota’s works have appeared in exhibitions across Asia, Europe, and North America. He received his Master’s degree in painting in 2001 from Tokyo University of the Arts.  

Yohei Yashima (b. 1985)

Yohei Yashima has spent the past decade of his career crafting works that embody human loneliness and anxiety through paintings of generic, mass-produced dolls. Referring to his dolls as relatable items that every viewer can project themselves onto, Yashima uses the figures as empty vessels to fill with the traumas and emotions human beings are usually too scared to confront face-to-face.

Shigemi Yasuhara (b. 1984)

Inspired by the humble beauty and deep-seated history of the trees that grow on the mountains of Japan and in the countryside, Shigemi Yasuhara’s paintings are visions of a world enveloped in stillness and serenity. With a self-described intense focus on natural elements, Yasuhara paints his trees, often beech or horse chestnut, on the traditional Japanese paper called washi using mineral pigments such as lapis lazuli and verdigris. The simple color pallet and immaculate detail turn the everyday landscapes into emotional scenes full of tension, stillness, and splendor. Yasuhara earned his PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2016. 

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