“Forces of Nature: Ecology in Japanese Prints” at PAM


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Tue, 09/13/2022 - 11:30am to 12:00pm
Chiho Aoshima's Magma Spirit Explodes, Tsunami is Dreadful, (2004)” at the Portland Art Museum
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Jeannie Kenmotsu on “Forces of Nature: Ecology in Japanese Prints.”

On Tuesday, September 13, 2022, Joseph Gallivan interviews Jeannie Kenmotsu , Curator of Asian art at the Portland Art Museum, about the new show “Forces of Nature: Ecology in Japanese Prints.”

Kenmotsu talks about woodblock printing and the Superflat movement, how Japanese artists are still wrestling with 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the link between abstraction and patterns from nature. The show is at PAM until December 31, 2022.


This interview was recorded on a Zoom H2N recorder, in person, without masks, on Aug 30, 2022 and edited and engineered by KBOO volunteer Ray Bodwell. https://kboo.fm/blog/55224


From the Portland Tribune:

A new exhibition of Japanese prints at the Portland Art Museum focuses on the artist’s relationship with nature. The small but fascinating show “Forces of Nature: Ecology in Japanese Prints” includes all the usual Japanese icons – Mount Fuji, tsunamis, full moons – but also contains some abstraction inspired by nature. Drawing on a diverse group of Japanese artists, “Forces of Nature” was curated by Jeannie Kenmotsu, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Asian Art at the Portland Art Museum, during the pandemic. It is now getting its due, through December 31, 2022.


Read the rest at https://pamplinmedia.com/portland-tribune-features


From the press release:

Forces of Nature

Ecology in Japanese Prints

Jul 30, 2022 – Dec 2022

What is the relationship of humans to their environment? Japanese artists have considered this question in myriad ways, influenced as deeply by the tempestuous natural forces shaping life in this Pacific Rim island archipelago as by long-standing traditions of natural imagery in Japanese art, literature, and culture. The human connection to the natural world has taken on new meanings in the wake of March 11, 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, followed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, struck the northeast coast of Japan. This exhibition explores artistic responses to the environmental forces–some benign, some terrifying–that regulate life on this planet. The works featured here consider the ecological relationship between humans and our environment, encompassing mundane moments of daily life, meditative abstractions, and dystopian visions of the future.

Curated by Jeannie Kenmotsu, Ph.D., The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Asian Art

Major support provided by the Japan Foundation.






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Joseph Gallivan has been a reporter since 1990. He has covered music for the London Independent, Technology for the New York Post, and arts and culture for the Portland Tribune, where he is currently a Feature Writer. He is the author of two novels, "Oi, Ref!" and "England All Over" which are available on Amazon.com


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