Friday, March 26, 2010

Keira Akiko (計良明子展) Exhibit at Gallery Kobo (巷房) - (2010/03)

I enjoyed looking at this exhibit (2010/03/22-27) of Keira Akiko's (計良明子展) at Gallery Kobo (巷房).  Talking with the artist about the pictures (similar to the one the promotional postcard below), I asked if she had intentionally put what look like leaves into the design or if it just worked out that way.  She said it was basically just a design, but as she drew it, certain shapes did suggest themselves somewhat.  Whatever the process, I like the outcome!
計良明子展 / 巷房 

The website for Gallery Kobo (巷房) is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tsuji Yanoka (辻やのか) Exhibition at Ginza Seika Gallery (銀座静鹿ギャラリー) 2010/03

I liked the art at this exhibit (2010/03/23-29) - particularly the colors (see second card below) of Tsuji Yanoka (辻やのか) at Ginza Seika Gallery (銀座静鹿ギャラリー).

The gallery atmosphere was nice, and I was really taken with the all blue picture in the card above (which is why I bought a postcard version [and received permission from the artist to scan it for this blog entry]).  The card looks great I think, but the original was that much better still.  [2011 Exhibition]

The artist's blog is here:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Watanabe Nami (渡辺菜美) Exhibit at Jungaro (純画廊) - (2010/03)

The pictures at this exhibit (2010/03/22-27) by Watanabe Nami (渡辺菜美) at Jungaro Gallery (純画廊) are woodblock prints (木版画), which is the same process used for the very cool Ukiyoe prints - such as: Tokaido 53-Tsugi - by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858).
渡辺菜美 / 純画廊

I liked all of the prints, but think I would have chosen a different one for the promotional postcard.  In any case, if you're going to see this exhibit - hurry - as tomorrow is the final day.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Awai Yosuke Live in Shibuya on March 19th, 2010" (100319-2004)

A view of Awai Yosuke playing live (vocals, along with guitar and occasional harmonica), on the east side of Shibuya Station (opposite Hachiko Square) on a Friday evening.


(Recorded on Friday, March 19th, 2010, at 8:04 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tonotsuka Eriko (殿塚絵里子展) Shomeido Gallery (松明堂ギャラリー) - (2010/04)

I was told about Tonotsuka Eriko's (殿塚絵里子展)upcoming exhibition (2010/04/03-18) at Shomeido Gallery (松明堂ギャラリー), so I thought I'd have a look at the gallery first, and - believe me - you wouldn't likely stumble into this one!  It's accessed via a reverse direction staircase mid-way back in a bookstore.  Even inside the store, and looking for a staircase down (I had been told it was in the basement), I couldn't find it until a shopkeeper pointed out the (almost) hidden stairs!
殿塚絵里子 / 松明堂ギャラリー 

Once down there, though, I was pleased to see that it's a great exhibition space, and even has natural light filtering down from the rear corner, where a square shaft goes up to above-ground-level, where there are windows.

The promotional postcard above is for an upcoming show, so I haven't had a chance to see anything other than the card yet....

The last exhibit (2010/03/06-21), which I only had time to briefly see, but liked a lot, was of art by Okubo Soko (大久保草子):
大久保草子 / 松明堂ギャラリー
大久保草子 / 松明堂ギャラリー

The website for the Shomeido Gallery (松明堂ギャラリー) is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Suzuki Tsutomu (鈴木ツトム) Gallery LaMer (ギャラリーLaMer)

This exhibit (2010/03/22-27) of Suzuki Tsutomu (鈴木ツトム) is being held at Gallery LaMer (ギャラリーLaMer).  I didn't meet the artist, but the gallery owner explained that artwork (sculpted forms attached to paintings) had a theme of having an ear (or ears) within each picture.  Some were easy to spot, others less so.
鈴木ツトム / ギャラリーLaMer 

The promotional postcard above was one example, and there were others with completely different color combinations.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Nishimura Ikuo (西村郁雄) at Gallery Platform Studio (ギャラリープラットフォームスタジオ)

I walked into the Nishimura Ikuo (西村郁雄) exhibit (2010/03/22-27) at Gallery Platform Studio (ギャラリー プラットフォーム スタジオ) and began looking at the illustrations.  Something about them seems familiar...  When I got to the second wall, I suddenly remembered what it was: "They look like illustrations for children's books!" thought I.
Just as I was about to ask the woman there if the illustrations were for/from children's books, I looked down and noticed a large pile of children's books!  Question answered!  After that, I spoke a little with the woman, who turned out to be the wife of the artist, Nishimura Ikuo (西村郁雄).

The website for Gallery Platform Studio is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Yoshikawa Kiyoshi (吉川潔) Gallery-Y (ギャラリーY)

Yoshikawa Kiyoshi (吉川潔) is displaying (2010/03/18-23) a combination of his work (ceramic, wood, and paintings) at Gallery-Y (ギャラリーY).

This gallery is located not far from Musashino Art University in western Tokyo.

The website for Gallery-Y (ギャラリーY) is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Nakai Hitomi (中井ヒトミ) Art Space Ginza One (アートスペース銀座ワン)

Nakai Hitomi (中井ヒトミ) is holding an exhibition (2010/03/22-27) at Art Space Ginza One (アートスペース銀座ワン):
中井ヒトミ / アートスペース銀座ワン

The pictures explore many way-out perspectives, such as the one on the promotional postcard above.

The artist's blog is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Y's ARTS (ワイズ アーツ) Antiques (in Ginza's Okuno Building)

In two rooms - Room-101 on the 1st floor (just to the left as you come in the entrance to the Ginza Okuno Building) and in Room-508.  The 508 space is basically an art gallery, and the 101 space is half-art gallery and half antique shop.  Recently the owner (artist, graphic designer, and antique collector) is producing very interesting fusion art consisting of antique and vintage objects merged with his original art.  The artist/antique collector/owner is also quite knowledgeable and passionate about antiques.

The Okuno Building is a great place for a shop selling cool old stuff, as the building itself is quite old (by Tokyo standards in any case!) - half build in 1932 and half in 1934.

The website for Y's ARTS is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Scissors Story (はさみ物語) Group Exhibit at Serikawa Gallery (芹川画廊) - (2010/03)

This exhibit was a three-person group exhibit (2010/03/20-28), with each person using one of the three display walls for their art.
はさみ物語 / 芹川画廊
The three artists (see card above for their names) are currently university students I believe.  The one name I could properly read is Utsui Haruka (宇津井遥).

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tanaka Toshiko (田中敏子) Exhibit at Ginza Gallery House (ギンザギャラリーハウス) - (2010/03)

I stumbled into this exhibit in Ginza (2010/03/21-27) by chance - noticing it as I was walking by.

I spoke with a man there (who turned out to be the husband of the artist) about the exhibit of large quilts for a bit, but it wasn't until I was home that I noticed what the card says on the back: "Welcome to My Journey Final" (I'm assuming that means "final journey").  What could that mean?  Is it what it sounds like?  I wish I had noticed at the gallery and asked the man about what that means.

In any case, there were many quilts - representing quite a lot of time and work on the part of Tanaka Toshiko I should think.  Many were very nice.  I think I liked the one representing her visit to Australia best.

The gallery website is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, March 18, 2010

難波佳織 Exhibit 幻想 at Gallery La Mer (ギャラリー La Mer)

I liked several of the pictures at this exhibition quite a lot.  While talking to the artist about her art, I forgot to ask how to pronounce her name though, but it might be Kaori.  In any case, the kanji for her name is: 難波佳織.
難波佳織 / ギャラリー La Mer

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Suzuki (鈴木己生) and Saito (齋藤裕美) Joint Exhibition at Gallery-403 (ギャラリー403) - (2010/03)

There was a joint exhibition of paintings by Suzuki (鈴木己生) & Saito (齋藤裕美) at Gallery-403 (ギャラリー403) in Ginza 1-Chome (2010/3/15-20).  The art on the left of the room was quite different from that on the right, so presumably that was the division of work by the two artists.

鈴木己生 and 齋藤裕美 / ギャラリー403

There was someone in the office as I walked in that I could vaguely see through the curtains - we exchanged "konnichiwa" greetings when I walked in, but they didn't come out while I was looking at the pictures and I was reluctant to call them out, so I looked at the pictures alone for a bit, being mostly interested in the ones on the left (as seen when walking into the gallery).

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Nakagawa Hirotaka (中川裕孝) Exhibit "One Sunday" at Gallery Kobo (巷房2) - (2010/05)

I walked into the B1 exhibition space for Gallery Kobo (巷房2) and idly contemplated the pictures there, by Nakagawa Hirotaka (中川裕孝), thinking they were paintings.  Then the artist walked out of a back room and explained they were all made from denim....

Walking up and taking a closer look, I discovered - with surprise - that this was indeed the case.  He explained that he collected a lot of old jeans and then used the different colors of the material - without dyeing any of it.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Oshima Yoshiki (大島芳材) Exhibit at Gallery Ohmi (ギャラリー近江) - (2010/03)

Oshima Yoshiki (大島芳材) is exhibiting (2010/3/15-21) at Gallery Ohmi (ギャラリー近江) in Ginza 6-Chome (see back side of card further down for address).  The artist took me around and explained his pictures, including one that was painted by this father in... 1922 I think it was.
大島芳材 / ギャラリー近江

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Usuki Hideyuki & Toyama Shingo - HUST (in Yokohama) - (2010/03)

Usuki Hideyuki & Toyama Shingo are holding a joint exhibition (2010/03) at "Yokohama Creative City Center" in (you guessed it) Yokohama:
Usuki Hideyuki & Toyama Shingo

Update: I attended the exhibition in Yokohama and wrote a review at blog-LyleInTokyo which also has links to five video clips:
"Video Clips of HUST Exhibition in Yokohama (2010/3/18-22)"

Here's the location about the exhibition (from the back of the promotional postcard):

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

J-Trip Art Gallery Group Exhibit

I visited this gallery over in Ginza 6-Chome for the first time this week, just after the following group exhibition had been set up:

The exhibit wasn't officially open yet (2010/3/17-21), but the gallery owner was friendly and allowed me to have a quick look.  The gallery's website is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Art Space Ginza One (アートスペース銀座ワン) Group Exhibit

There is (from 2010/3/15-20) a group exhibit at Art Space Ginza One (アートスペース銀座ワン) in the Okuno Building.  There are typically group exhibits at Ginza-One every month, with some innovative and interesting art displayed.  Unfortunately there are no examples on the promotional postcard, but here it is nevertheless:
Art Space Ginza One / アートスペース銀座ワン

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Aso Hideho (麻生秀穗) Exhibition at Gallery Kobo (巷房)

Aso Hideho (麻生秀穗) has an exhibition of artwork made from carved stone at Gallery Kobo (巷房) [2010/3/8-20].
麻生秀穗 / 巷房

My favorite was a large slab hung on one wall with a center section polished to reveal fossilized shells within the stone.  I want on opening day and enjoyed talking with the artist about his various exhibitions.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Yokota Ryoko - Live in Kichijoji, Friday, March 12th, 2010"

While in Kichijoji to meet a friend, I stumbled upon Yokota Ryoko performing on the street, so I stopped for a listen, and while listening, my camera jumped out of my bag and into my hands....  Before continuing on my way, I bought the two CD's she had for sale: 横田良子-灯 and 横田良子-そのまま.  She has a nice voice.

Yokota Ryoko's website is:

横田良子、ライブ イン吉祥寺  東京  (Recorded on Friday, March 12th, 2010, at 8:31 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shimazaki Osuke (島崎 蓊助) Exhibit at Hiro Gallery (ヒロ画廊)

I visited Hiro Gallery in Ginza 6-Chome for the first time on Tuesday.  I've been spending most of my time in Ginza in the same areas, so I'm trying to explore more and visit galleries I haven't been to yet.

The exhibit at Hiro Gallery was of the late Shimazaki Osuke (島崎 蓊助), who was born in 1908 and died in 1992.  There is an English explanation of the artist at the Hiro Gallery (ヒロ画廊) website.

Excerpt from Hiro Gallery website (edited):

   Osuke Shimazaki was born in 1908 as the third son of Toson Shimazaki, a great literary figure. But when he was two years old, his mother died and he was sent to be raised by relatives in Kiso-Fukushima, Nagano prefecture. He was reunited with Toson when he was 13 years old, and began to attend Kawabata Art School with his brother, Keiji.
   The two chose different paths in life, with the elder brother studying abroad in France; debuting in the art world at an early age and becoming a popular artist.
   On the other hand, the younger brother (Osuke) focused on the proletarian art movement of the avant-garde art movement, then went to Germany and immersed himself in the art movement related to Bauhaus (with Koreya Senda and others). He drew images of battlefields in China during the war, and compiled a complete collection of art after the war. (This explains why his achievements as a painter were not made public until 1970.)
   In 1970, he visited Germany again and painted about 30 sepia paintings. He continually recorded his study of art in handwritten notebooks - compiling 164 volumes from 1951 until the end of his life in 1992.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Koyama Akiko (小山暁子) Exhibition at Ono Gallery- 2 (小野画廊-II)

I spoke with the artist about her ceramics - many of which had the theme of being shaped like the human heart.  That's probably hard to imagine, but the effect was good the way it was done.
小山暁子 / 小野画廊-II

It was interesting, because before the shape was explained, I was looking at them and thinking... wordlessly thinking... feeling... that the shape was somehow familiar, so when it was explained, a proverbial light bulb went off over my head and I thought "Ah!  So *that's* what that shape is!  I knew it was familiar somehow!".

They must have been skillfully done, because the effect was a comfortable one without a noticeable question arraising in one's mind.

The exhibit was in the first floor gallery just inside the main doors to the Okuno Building.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Konishi Ushio (小西潮) Exhibit at Ecru+HM (エクリュ+エイチエム)

"Exhibition Space Ecru+HM (エクリュ_+エイチエム)", in the Okuno Building in Ginza, seems to focus on things like glass art and clothing (judging by the exhibits I've seen there over the past year).

This week (3/6-3/13 2010) featured some very nice glasswork by Konishi Ushio (小西潮) of Ushio Studio (潮工房).  For the artist's studio site, see the above card and link.  For this week's Ginza exhibition space, see the card and link (for Ecru+HM エクリュ+エイチエム) below.

The artist carefully explained to me how some of the effects are manufactured in his studio.  Someday I hope to start buying glass art, and not just see it in galleries!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Flash" Group Exhibit at Gallery La Mer (ギャラリー La Mer) March 2010

There is a group exhibit at Gallery La Mer this week (3/8-3/13 2010) with works by seven artists.  Group exhibits are fairly popular, as it's an affordable way for artists to have an exhibition.
Group Exhibit / ギャラリー La Mer

I spoke with two of the artists, but primarily one who had a couple of paintings with very unique older-looking women in them.  There was something striking about them and so I asked about them:

LHS: "These woman..."

Young Artist: "They're not me."

LHS: "Well, yes, that I knew!"

And she seemed slightly reluctant to talk about them at length, but when I persisted, she explained that she was interested in indigenous peoples, and they represented some nondescript indigenous people somewhere, which made perfect sense and solved the riddle I was feeling since laying eyes upon them.

I think some people must go into galleries and ask the meaning of a picture and then not be ready to really listen to the answer the artist has - in which case it's not surprising that some artists become reluctant to discuss the meaning of their art....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hasegawa Akiko (長谷川晶子) Exhibit at Gallery Kobo (巷房)

This exhibit was of pictures created with watercolors and pastels.  I liked it and present the promotional postcard without further introduction.  (The second image is from 2007 and not a part of the current exhibit at Gallery Kobo in Ginza.)

The artist's website is:

Sasaki Yukiko (佐々木 幸子) Exhibition at Art Space Ginza One (アートスペース銀座ワン)

This was the most off-the-wall exhibit I saw in my art gallery crawl this week.  Before I begin to explain, here are three sides of the four-sided promotional flyer for the exhibition (the back side is basically the same as the front - just without the text).
佐々木 幸子 / アートスペース銀座ワン
佐々木 幸子 / アートスペース銀座ワン

So... what does the shape of the promotional flyer look like?  Yeah - that's what it is.  If I understood the artist's explanation correctly, the concept is that certain "waste" products are viewed differently depending on the region, the country, the era, etc.  Historically it's been a fertilizer for example.  Also, she mentioned that she has grown up watching manga that depict it comically now and then, and so it's not a taboo... thing, or concept.

The pictures in the gallery were in no way graphic - some had a certain shape, but some were just pleasantly abstract and you wouldn't know the concept of the exhibition just from looking at them.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Moriya Kenichiro (森谷謙一郎) Exibit / Project Room-306 (100309)

The current (between March 1st and March 13th, 2010) exhibit at Project Room-306 has a mysterious hair supporting a phantom hair clip...
森谷謙一郎/ Project Room-306

Room 306 was interesting, as usual, for the history in the air.  The building in general radiates history, and of the many rooms in the building, no one person lived in one of them as long as the tenant who used to live in Room 306, so it's a room with atmosphere.
Room-306 / Photo by Lyle H Saxon

While there, I met Murohashi Eri (室橋絵里), who is exhibiting in another room in the Okuno Building - at Gallery La Mer (ギャラリー La Mer).  We talked about the exhibit in 306, the room, the history of the room, its tenant, and the building, and while we were talking, a kimono-clad woman who is a relative of the person exhibiting in 306 (I can't quite make out one of the kanji characters, but if you can read Japanese, it's on the postcard further up the page, and when I discover the pronunciation, I'll put it on this page) arrived and then the three of us talked about the room, the meaning of "installation", etc.

"Installation" - truth be told, I can't confidently say that I understand that term very well myself either.  As I stumbled with a sort of dictionary definition, the artist from Gallery La Mer explained it to the guest.  Thinking back on it, it felt rather like meeting people at a party in someone's home, and that's basically what that room is....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Okamoto Taro Museum of Art, Kawasaki (岡本太郎美術館)

I was given the following postcard advertising the Okamoto Taro Museum in Kawasaki (岡本太郎美術館), so I thought I'd drop it in here before I lose it (and in case it's of interest to others).

Wikipedia has a page on the man - which begins with this bit of text:

   "Tarō Okamoto (岡本太郎, Okamoto Tarō) (February 26, 1911–January 7, 1996) was a Japanese artist noted for his abstract and avant-garde paintings and sculpture.
   "He studied at Panthéon-Sorbonne in the 1930s, and made many great art works after WW II. He was a prolific artist and writer until his death, and has exerted considerable influence on Japanese society."

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Murohashi Eri (室橋絵里) Exhibit at Gallery La Mer (ギャラリー La Mer)

The pronunciation of the artist's name is probably "Murohashi Eri", but I forgot to verify it with the artist, who I briefly spoke with at Gallery La Mer in Ginza.  (That's the trouble with converting kanji names into English characters - without verification, you usually can't say for certain what he pronunciation will be (since there are so many exceptions for pronunciation - especially when it comes to names).

室橋絵里 / ギャラリー La Mer

Not so much with the picture on the promotional postcard above, but there was another picture that looked like spaghetti being piled onto a plate on a woman's head, so I turned to the artist and said "Um... what is that?" and she said "What do you think?", so I said "It looks like spaghetti..." to which she cocked her head in a silently loud "Wrong..." pose, so I said "Or wires going into a robot..." to which she answered "That's closer...".

I would have continued on with still another guess, but I had run out of them, so I gave up and just had a contemplative look at her pictures and then went on my way after talking about (for a reason I can't remember exactly) the Okuno Building and how she might want to have a look at Room-306, which was occupied by the building's last resident tenant, who died at 100 years of age in January of 2009.

Later on, after visiting some other galleries, I want over to Room-306 and ran into her there, so we talked about the room for a bit - and then an elder kimono-clad relative of the artist displaying there (in Room-306) came by, and we discussed the space - in an atmosphere something like when you meet someone at a house party.  This atmosphere is pronounced in Room-306, as the Project-306 group is preserving it as it was, and it feels very much like a lived-in apartment (if you tune in to it correctly), rather than an empty display space.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Araki Tamana (荒木珠奈) Exhibition at Gallery Kobo-2 (巷房) - (2010/03)

Walking into the basement display space of the Kobo Gallery in Ginza, I noticed there was a lot of text below each of the pictures, so I had a closer look... "Hey!  I can read this pretty easily!" thought I "It must be text for a children's book..."

And that's exactly what it was - as it turns out.  The artist's website is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Araki Elementary School (明石小学) - Exhibit at Gallery-403

This exhibit of photos of the Araki Elementary School (in Tokyo's Chuo-ku) that is slated for demolition were apparently at another gallery first, and are being displayed at Gallery-403 in the Okuno Building as a sort of an extension of the original exhibit.

While in the gallery I discussed the exhibit with another viewer who passionately spoke of how well-engineered and built structures like this one should be preserved, rather than destroyed in order to build ugly, stylistically cold boxes in their place.  I said how Tokyo really ought to preserve a little more of its structures, instead of relentlessly tearing everything down.  Another man in the room, apparently an employee of an architectural firm, said that many people are saying the same thing recently.

Ah!  So I'm not the only one then!  That Tokyo is a relentlessly modern city is okay, but I think many people are increasingly thinking that there should be at least a little room for preservation of old respected and still serviceable structures.
(Photo from 明石小学  site)

Actually - the chronology of my discussions in Gallery-403 the other day went like this [the following all translated into English from the original Japanese conversations]:

First I was talking with the gallery owner, who explained what the exhibit was about.  I commented that "New buildings and new construction is all very well, but complete eradication of old structures and a city full of nothing but new buildings is overdoing it!"

To this, a man behind me said: "That's what everyone is saying..."

The gallery owner introduced the friendly-looking man as an employee of a large architectural firm and we all laughed.

I began talking with the architectural guy and brought up the former Tokyo Central Post Office, which has been mainly demolished, other than the front section, which is being preserved along with a new structure going up behind, on and beside where the old post office used to stand.  The architectural man then began explaining that project in detail, saying what percentage of the building had been destroyed and what percentage was being preserved.

I was interested in hearing the details of this, but when I said "It's good that they're saving at least part of the building", a woman (who had come in while were were talking) turned around from her position in front of the elementary school pictures and said "No!  That's not good at all!"

I turned around and said "Well... better than completely destroying it..." to which she replied "It's worse!  It allows them to say they preserved the building when in fact they destroyed it!"

About this time, the architectural man made his escape from hostile waters and I began talking with the woman about Tokyo's relentless destruction of anything over a few decades old.  People get used to buildings only being allowed to stand for 20 or 30 years, and buildings such as my apartment, which is about 22 years old, and - I think - not old at all, are considered to be ancient.  When I tell someone that my apartment building is about 22 years old, they often act surprised and say "It's old!" as though I had said 828 years old, and not 22.

From there, the conversation naturally went to the Okuno Building, which is becoming quite unique in Tokyo, as a concrete structure that is (shock!/surprise!/gasp!) over 70 years old.

The exchange was an interesting one for me, as I felt I could see the viewpoint of both the architectural man, and the woman fed up with Tokyo's construction monster, which is continually destroying bits of the city as though there were a never-tiring Godzilla monster at loose all the time in Tokyo.  Maybe the construction industry should be renamed "Godzilla, Inc.".

Joking aside, sometimes it does seem like things are constructed for no better reason than someone has a pile of money to spend on demolition and reconstruction.

The above is from the back of the promotional post card - which is from the first exhibit of the photos, which was held at a different gallery.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon