Winter 2004/05 Exhibition

Yamanaka Shinten'o, Landscape for Nakajima
Yamanaka Shinten'o (1822-85)
Landscape for Nakajima
Late 19th cent
Hanging scroll

Inhabited/Uninhabited: Intimacy and Exuberance in Japanese Landscape Painting

November 30, 2004 – February 19, 2005
(Gallery closed Nov. 25–26, Dec. 24–25 and 31, 2004 and Jan. 1, 2005)

As the days grow shorter, bringing a winter chill to the air, the Center gallery will become a quiet retreat, offering escape into a world of dramatic landscapes, some real, but most imagined. Featuring an impressively diverse selection of paintings from the sophisticated and restrained Chinese-inspired literati tradition, this exhibition explores the various issues involved in embedding the human figure within nature scenes. What is the impact of the presence of a human being in landscape painting in Japan in the early modern/modern period? What artistic decisions must be made when incorporating or embedding a figure in a landscape? Who are these figures at times so dwarfed that they go unnoticed or at others so central that they become natural features themselves?

This exhibition highlights over thirty paintings ranging widely in brushwork, size, color, composition, and intensity, yet sharing the common theme of the vast natural word in which we live. Through these paintings, the viewer is drawn into the landscapes, traversing land and water, even when no surrogate figure with which we might identify is depicted. From intimate miniatures to monumental masterworks, seeking out the hidden figures becomes a secret challenge among the many stylized conventions of this painting school. Yet the overriding desire to find a place for ourselves within the spectacle of the natural world strikes a chord that can be appreciated by all viewers.

With the exception of two or three earlier works serving as an historical reference, the paintings in this exhibition belong to the Nanga School of literati art, considered one of the five major schools of later Japanese painting. The Clark Center now houses the largest combined collection of Nanga art and resource materials in the world, including over 400 paintings, approximately 600 books, almost 13,000 photos of artists' seals, and almost 28,000 reference slides. The current exhibition will draw from this major collection of Nanga artwork and will feature additional loans from Seattle-area collector Terry Welch and Los Angeles-area collectors Dr. Peter and Doris Drucker. Featured artists include major representatives of the Nanga School, such as Nukina Kaioku, Uragami Gyokudo, Ike Taiga, Tani Buncho, and Yamanaka Shinten'o, and range in dates from the early 18th to the early 20th centuries.

Curated by Dr. Elizabeth Sharf

Uragami Gyokudo, Landscape
Uragami Gyokudo (1783-1856)
Mid 19th century
Hanging scroll

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 1 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.
Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for students with valid ID. Children 12 and under free.
Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.