Asia Week at Scholten Japanese Art

Asia Week at Scholten Japanese Art

From left: “Autumn Grasses” by Tamamura Hokuto, “Red and White Fringed Poppies” by Shinsen Tokuoka and “Pair of Cranes with Red Plum” by Araki Kanpo

Last week Scholten Japanese Art presented their spring exhibition, Kacho Fugetsu: Natural Beauty in Japanese Art. The show is part of Asia Week New York 2015 and is viewable daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. through March 21st. After that, the show will continue through April by appointment only, changing slightly as works are sold.

Currently, full-length hanging scrolls line the walls of the main room at Scholten’s midtown space. In a second room, you’ll find a few smaller works as well as the gallery’s library and woodblock prints. Scholten’s director Katherine Martin says her favorite piece is the first one you see walking in: “Red and White Fringed Poppies” by Shinsen Tokuoka. She loves the intricate brushwork—especially considering that it was painted on silk, a very difficult material to work with.

In Japanese, Kacho Fugetsu is literally made up of the characters for flower, bird, wind and moon. It also means “beauties of nature” and art within this genre tends to feature those flowers, birds, wind and the moon, along with other things found in nature like animals and plants. Martin explains that, like Western art, Japanese art includes three main categories. But while Western art is comprised of landscapes, portraits and still lives, Japanese art swaps out the latter for kacho fugetsu.

Scholten’s previous exhibition Dark and Stormy: Evocative Images for Uncertain Times, focused on literally dark and stormy scenes to coincide with the dark times for the world culturally and politically. This season, the gallery’s much more visually cheerful artworks work as a break from the long, cold winter, which Martin says was not planned, but definitely needed. “I had no idea how bad of a winter we were going to have,” she says.

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