Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Japanese Non-conformists

Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–1799)

Here's more from the current exhibit in the Ando Gallery
at the Art Institute of Chicago.

"The Japanese Eccentrics"

I haven't seen enough 18th C. painting to feel
just how eccentric they were

--- but there is a certain powerful, cold elegance here.

So -- for example -- if an action movie hero were kidnapped,
and the above character hung on the door
into which he was being led ....

You know he'd be in very, very bad trouble

.. and isn't this what you'd imagine
as an aesthetisized
version of the Klingon alphabet

(maybe I've become too Sinicized,
but there is something so cruel and aloof about it)

Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754-1799)

... not to mention sexy

I'm not showing the entire pieces here,
because I don't like the pictures I took of them --
or maybe I don't even like the pieces themselves

--but I'm certainly enthusiastic for these
large areas of detail

Why does this feel so much more Japanese than Chinese ?

Soga Shohaku (1730–1781)

What's curious here is that the fish are the same size, in foreground or background

--but the style of depiction becomes looser with distance

All that's left of that last fish..
is two or three strokes.

These letters are just a small detail of a much larger screen,

but it's the part I liked the most.

And if those characters were women at a party,
they'd be wearing too much make-up and perfume.


Blogger marlyat2 said...

Action movie hero: very amusing.

The Klingon letters--my eye immediately picked out several swords and a box trapping a letter. The poor eye is an insatiable picture maker.

Just got back from two days at the endless, infinitely varied glass museum in Corning. And found myself wondering what you would make of a thing or two!

April 11, 2007  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Chris, your metaphors and descriptions are spot-on and priceless!

I could see clear as day a gaggle of Dallas socialites in that last bit of over-the-top calligraphic brushwork.

(I wonder what one would call a grouping of Southern belle socialites? "Gaggle" seems wrong.

How about "a bouffant of socialites," or a "pave of socialites"?)

April 12, 2007  

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