Seen in Sydney

While in Newcastle for the Fetish exhibition I took the opportunity to take a quick trip to Sydney to see the Kamisaka Sekka exhibition, Dawn of Modern Japanese Design, at the Art Gallery of NSW.

I’m glad I made the visit to see the exquisite work of this designer. The show is displayed over two floors and is drawn largely from works from the Hosomi Museum in Kyoto.The introduction to the exhibition shows works from a number of artists of the Rinpa School who influenced Sekka’s work.


This plate with decoration by Ogata Kenzan of Chinese bellflowers (1712-1731) is a particular favourite.


I also like the working drawing showing various versions of this plate design by Sekka 1920-30, Kiyomizu Rokubai V, made the plate.


Cigarette case 1920’s, design by Sekka and lacquer by Kamisaka Yukichi.


These pawlonia wood trays with designs of pine trees were high on the list of ‘if I could have one thing from this exhibition…’. Design by Sekka 1920-25.


A woodblock print from the series A World of Things, 1909-10. The original watercolour for this particular print, Plum Blossoms Beside the Eaves, was on display and was thoroughly engaging.

I’ve been working on my own response to the show, tentative steps at present. This design of 100 Flowers, 1903, in brocade for a window curtain caught my attention. I particularly liked the multi-coloured hydrangeas. Each sepal was one colour and was bordered by a second colour


My response, rather brighter, was to make ‘hydrangeas’ in crochet. Not sure how I will use them as yet. I’m using up left over tapestry wool that I found in a Newcastle op-shop.


Closer to Sekka’s painting style are a series of paintings using Japanese pigments I’ve had sitting around my workroom for several years. Time they got used.





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