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CSULB Art History Professor Kendall Brown’s “Water and Shadow” exhibition reviewed in Wall Street Journal

Posted on February 12, 2015 by School of Art

The Magic in Twilight

‘Water and Shadow’ at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts engenders a renewed appreciation for the emotional range printmakers can achieve.

An island silhouetted in the moonlight, yellow grasses drying on racks by a bright blue sea, steady rain falling on a solitary boatman, light lingering on a wall as surrounding shadows coalesce into night—these are some of the memorable scenes from “Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Made during the early years of the shin-hanga (new print) movement, which started in 1915, they are a far cry from their predecessors, the ukiyo-e or “floating world” prints, which depicted a demimonde of courtesans and actors along with dramatic vistas, using bold outlines, bright colors and flat, sometimes asymmetrical compositions. By contrast, this show’s more than 100 shin-hangaprints, many of them now in the museum’s permanent collection, use perspective and nuanced color to explore the magic in twilight and the beauty in the ordinary.

Landscapes, a popular subject in the resulting shin-hanga movement, were a specialty of Kawase Hasui…author of a 2003 catalogue raisonné of Hasui’s woodblock prints, guest curator Kendall H. Brown [shows] this was Hasui’s most imaginative period [and] bolsters this claim with an impressive array of works, including experimentations.

To read the rest of the review, please click here.


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