Thursday, January 6, 2011

Art Around Town

Yesterday, I took some time to see what art might be hanging at BSU.  There was nothing up in the Liberal Arts building, so I headed over to the Student Union building.  First enjoying a chicken sandwich from Idaho's one and only Chik-fil-A Express restaurant, I then continued upstairs to the gallery space.  I was delighted to find the exhibit, Katsura: The Photographs of Ishimoto Yasuhiro (click on link to see the Boise Weekly's blurb about it, if you need more information).

The gallery was filled with these black and white photos the artist took of the Katsura Detached Palace located on the Katsura River on the outskirts of Kyoto in Japan.  The building dates from the early Edo period (17th century).  I found this information in the free handouts and booklet provided.

The majority of photographs were taken from the inside of the pavilion.  The simple architecture and lack of furnishing gave Yasuhiro the means to create strong visual images with graphic lines and geometric shapes, bringing the three dimensional architecture into a flattened two dimensional realm.  This, with the addition of the abstracted view, was really what appealed to me and made the historic architecture modern.

There were also some photographs of the surrounding gardens which showed great texture and detail of stones, mosses, trees, bamboo fences and the other elements that make up the traditional Japanese garden.  The picture below, which demonstrates the planned placement of path and stepping stones, reminds me of several sketches I have in one of my sketch books which I had done after studying a book from the library about Japanese gardens.

I really enjoyed the show and thought the photos were beautiful and yet, because they were in black and white, the interior pictures were austere in a somewhat severe way, not necessarily portraying the calming beauty I tend to think of in the Japanese aesthetic (although the artist was born in America and studied in Chicago before becoming a Japanese citizen and I doubt the traditional Japanese aesthetic was what he was aiming for).

The show is only open through Jan. 9, so if you are in town and want to see it, you need to go in the next few days.

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