Ogawa Usen Exhibit

Starting Saturday, March 17th and running until Sunday, May 20th, the Modern Art Museum, Ibaraki, will be hosting an exhibition of the life-works of local artist Ogawa Usen. Divided into two periods, early works and late works (changing on April 16th), the exhibition aims to give an idea of the progression of the artist’s style over time.

Ogawa was born in the Edo period (1868) and was based in Ushiku, Ibaraki right up until his death in 1938. He learned painting through courses in Western painting and spent the first half of his life working in journalism as an illustrator. After that he turned his hand to Japanese painting, producing pieces that drew from a rich background of Eastern culture such as Taoism, literature, and Haiku. He soon developed an individual style that featured works based on water-based rural landscapes, nature scenes he’d glimpsed on his travels, and pieces centered around small-town ghost tales about Kappa (river-based demons) and phantoms that haunted water or mountains.

This exhibition gathers together Ogawa’s representative works under one roof, combining the two major collections of the Modern Art Museum, Ibaraki, and the Aichi Prefecture Art Gallery’s Kimura Teizo.

The Modern Art Museum is open every day except Monday (open every day during the Plum Blossom Festival and Golden Week). Admission is 950yen for adults, 700yen for high school/university students, 350 for elementary/junior high students. People over 70 years of age or possessing a Disability document are free; excluding spring break, elementary/junior high students are free on Saturdays; visitors who purchase a ticket for the early works period will receive a discount for the later period if they bring the ticket.

Related Events:

Museum Academy – “On the boundaries of the bizarre: an examination based on ‘Spirited Away’”

Discussing ‘Comparative Japanese-Chinese Spectrology’ from the angle of the opening of Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’, and exploring the reception and changing appearance of ghost lore.

Presenter: Masuko Kazuo (Professor of Education at Ibaraki University)

Date: March 17th, 1:30pm

Location: Basement Auditorium (free entry, limit 250 people)

Museum Lecture – ‘Where Ogawa Usen has been, the space between “Japanese painting” and “Southern Chinese painting”’

The new hope of Japanese Art Research talks about Usen in the flow of recent/modern Southern Chinese painting.

Presenter: Murata Takashi (full-time lecturer at Osaka International University, Department of International Communication)

Date: March 24th, 1:30pm

Location: Basement Auditorium (free entry, limit 250 people)

Movie Viewing of ‘KAPPA’

Using beautiful rural settings in Kita-Ibaraki and Hitachiota as locations, a film that depicts the bonds between parents and their children using the Kappa legends as a foundation. Director: Ishii Tatsuya

Date: March 25th, open at 1pm, showing at 1:30pm

Location: Basement Auditorium (free entry, limit 250 people)

Workshop – ‘Japanese Painting, Enjoying Ink’

Kobayashi  Kogaku‘s father, Kobayashi Sokyojin, was a Japanese painter who lived with Usen at Choshi’s Chokoan as a lodger, and  Kogaku himself evacuated to Chokoan during the second world war. This is a chance to create ink paintings while listening to   Kogaku‘s stories of Usen.

Date: March 31st, 10am-3pm

Presenter: Kobayashi Kogaku (Japanese painter)

Location: Basement Auditorium, 2nd Floor Exhibition Hall (ticket required)

(Only for ages 10 and up, limit 30 people, reservation required)

Art Lecture by the Curator – ‘Ogawa Usen, the man and the art’

Date: April 15th

Location: Basement Auditorium (free entry, limit 250 people)

Gallery Talk by the Curator

Date: April 8th and May 13th, 1:30pm

Location: 2nd Floor Exhibition Hall (ticket required)

Places connected to Usen and Ushiku’s folklore, as told by a Story-teller

Date: May 5th and 6th, at 11am and 2pm both days

Presenters: Asano Hisako, Sakairi Kazuko

Location: The area outside the exit of the 2nd Floor Exhibition Hall (free entry)

Other Events:

Welcome to the Forest of Art

A gallery talk about the permanent exhibition.

Date: March 17th and April 21st and May 19th, 11am

Location: 1st Floor Permanent Exhibition Hall (permanent exhibition ticket required)

Museum Theater – ‘Tomb of the Asters’

Date: March 18th, 1:30pm

Location: Basement Auditorium (free entry, limit 250 people)

‘Hey, Museum for Kids!’

Art appreciation and creation activities through the permanent exhibition.

Date: April 28th, May 12th, 10-12, 1:30-3:30

Location: 1st Floor Permanent Exhibition Hall, Basement Lecture Room (permanent exhibition ticket required)

‘Shadow Rays in Mineyama: creation and exhibition of pieces based on light and shadow’

Exhibition Period: February 14th to May 20th

Location: 1st Floor Art Forum Corner

A collaborative event between the museum and schools. Under the guidance of artist and architect Okumura Rie, 114 junior high students from Hitachi City Mineyama Junior High School participated in a workshop, and now their works are on display. Bewitching shadows appear through changing the direction of light.

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