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Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering short reviews of 20 exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout Japan over the past two or three months, with an emphasis on contemporary art by young artists.

1 May 2007
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Keizaburo Okamura
Keizaburo Okamura
12-24 March 2007
Gallery Kobayashi
(Tokyo)
This exhibit of new works reflects painter Okamura's refusal to be limited to the context of traditional Nihonga. His recent work appears on huge folding screens; the six-section cedar panels in this show were first scorched with a burner, then prepared with an undercoat which was shaved and etched before the application of Nihonga pigments.
VOCA 2007
VOCA 2007
15-30 March 2007
The Ueno Royal Museum
(Tokyo)
The Vision of Contemporary Art (VOCA) is an annual exhibition featuring new works by under-forty artists recommended by curators, journalists and scholars around Japan. The 14th such event, VOCA 2007 introduces 36 artists using a variety of media: paintings, prints, photographs, and installations.
Saku Ishiyama
Saku Ishiyama: Hue Meditation
19-30 March 2007
DIC Color Square
(Tokyo)
Ishiyama has been painting for over 50 years, but made his art world debut in January 2007 at age 85. This exhibit focuses on recent works, including pastels and large oils on canvas. While one's first impression is of the bold, active lines that make up his work, a closer look reveals a rigor and delicacy in their movement.
Alfred Wallis
Alfred Wallis: Artist and Mariner
3 February - 31 March 2007
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
(Tokyo)
Self-taught artist Alfred Wallis began painting at age 70 after a career as a seaman and shipware shopowner in St. Ives, Cornwall, England. His works, often done with ship's paint on pieces of wood or cardboard, reflect his life at sea, depicting scenes of boats on stormy seas, lighthouses, and the harbor of St. Ives.
Hisaya Taira
Hisaya Taira: Subway Series 2007
13-31 March 2007
Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery
(Osaka)
A photorealist who replicates on canvas images he has photographed himself, Taira was inspired by painting scenes of New York and Chicago subways in 2003, and has since taken building interiors illuminated by artificial lighting as his main motif. This show focuses on escalators in contemporary subterranean spaces.
Hisaya Taira
Satoshi Uchiumi
9 March - 1 April 2007
Shiseido Gallery
(Tokyo)
Uchiumi creates "site-specific" paintings consisting of thousands of colored dots. His exhibits strive to make the viewer aware of the relationships between the work and space, work and viewer, and pigment and pigment. Highlighting this show is one piece that covers a 9m-long, 5m-high gallery wall.
ZAIM de FESTA
ZAIM de FESTA
23 March - 1 April 2007
ZAIM
(Kanagawa)
The city of Yokohama launched the ZAIM Project to support creative artists and help cultivate citizen-artist networks, providing two historical downtown buildings for the purpose. The show is a collaborative effort featuring the activities of arts organizations in the city and artists active with ZAIM.
Sakiko Kurita and Kuri Yorigami
Sakiko Kurita and Kuri Yorigami
3 March - 21 April 2007
Takefloor
(Tokyo)
Both graduates of Kyoto City University of Arts, these Kansai-based artists have exhibited in New York and Amsterdam, but this is their first Tokyo show. Kurita's new works combine painting and collage, while Yorigami displays a lifesize photo of a floor carpet as well as photos of earlier works made of clothing materials.
Meetings Across the Ocean
Meetings Across the Ocean
10 January - 4 March 2007
Fuchu Art Museum
(Tokyo)
Despite Japan's isolation during the Edo era, artists emulated the Western art they saw on imported goods, and when Meiji-era artists gained direct access to the West they created their own genre of "Western-style painting." Introduced here are Western-style Japanese artists like Kokan Shiba, Seiki Kuroda, and Shigeru Aoki as well as Western influences like Charles Wirgman and Raphael Collin.
Terunobu Fujimori
Terunobu Fujimori: Four and a Half Mat Maison
17 March - 10 June 2007
Maison Hermes
(Tokyo)
Architect and architectural historian Fujimori exhibits three different types of very small houses, each the size of four and a half tatami mats, at Hermes's Ginza store. Visitors may participate in building and plastering these works in progress.
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