From Theatre and Teahouse: Actors and Courtesans in Japanese Woodblock Prints
Dec. 1, 2006 – Jan. 28, 2007
The “pleasure quarters” of Japanese cities provided a wealth of subject matter for woodblock designers of the nineteenth century. In Edo (Tokyo) the Yoshiwara, like Osaka’s Shinmachi, and Kyoto’s Shimabara, was a licensed pleasure district. At its peak, the Yoshiwara contained some 3000 courtesans of varying grades in almost 200 “houses” where they lived and worked. Actors and other entertainers also helped form the culture of this “floating world” (ukiyo-e) depicted in woodblock prints.
The Yoshiwara, an area of almost twenty acres, was surrounded by a walled moat and entered by a single gate. Its streets were planted with cherry trees and willows (a Chinese symbol of prostitution). Open to any man with money, it was one of the few places in rigidly stratified Japanese society where the classes could mix. Geisha, women who trained for many years to become skilled entertainers, performed at private gatherings or teahouses. The Yoshiwara was also frequented by famous actors who performed in Kabuki theatre, in which men performed both male and female roles. This exhibition presents a selection of prints inspired by the “floating world.”
Thursday, November 30
5 – 6 p.m. – Members’ Preview for Friends of the University of Saint Joseph Art Gallery
6- 7:30 p.m. – Opening Reception
Carol Kreeger Davidson: Selected Drawings and Araby, A Monumental Sculpture
Sept. 16, 2006 – Nov. 19, 2006
Carol Kreeger Davidson, who was the subject of a national touring retrospective in 2002-2003, has been hailed by art historian and critic Donald Kuspit as accomplishing “the convincing reconciliation of abstraction and empathy, that is, of inorganic geometry and organic nature.”
Her sculpture, Araby, will be installed on campus between Lynch Hall and The Bruyette Athenaeum and will be on view through summer 2009. This sculpture was inspired by the artist’s reflections on Islamic art and culture. Created in 2005, it responds to her experience of living in Sabah, East Malaysia during the late 1960’s as a participant in the Peace Corps, as well as to today’s world conflicts that reveal increasing religious and cultural animosities. The abstract forms of Araby create a contemplative architectural space in which one views through calligraphically patterned openings the artist’s evocation of peaceful enclosed gardens. Along with the outdoor sculpture, an exhibition of Selected Drawings will be presented in the Art Gallery and will be on view through November 19.
September 15, 2006
5 – 6 p.m. – Members’ Preview with the artist
6 – 7:30 p.m. – Opening Reception
Kismet: New Work by Richard Yarde
April 7, 2006 – June 4, 2006
Kismet: New Work by Richard Yarde presents a fresh body of work by an artist who has been hailed as one of the great American watercolorists of the 20th century. These works explore themes of fate, chance, and transformation, and mark the artist’s return to bright color from his largely monochromatic work of recent years.
Yarde’s dreams and his knowledge of visual traditions from a wide range of cultures supply him with potent images that serve as a springboard for his watercolors. Works featured in this exhibition reference childhood games and African-American folktales, as in The Signifying Monkeys, whose inspiration is a classic trickster figure from folklore. Kismet #2, from which the show takes its title, is based on the board game Snakes and Ladders, originally a Hindu morality game in which ladders, representing virtues, elevated the player toward Nirvana, while snakes (or vices), slid the player away from this goal.
Yarde’s new watercolors trace their beginnings to Mojo Hand, the break-through watercolors he created following a life threatening illness in 1991. Monumental in scale, they combine images of the body’s interior with coded language consisting of dot patterns in intimate self-portraits that address universal themes of spirituality, healing, and the human condition. “My interior world grew very large,” he explains; “I was forced to confront my vulnerability — my dependence on other people and on my spiritual resources.”
Born in Boston, Richard Yarde received a BFA cum laude and an MFA from Boston University. Professor of Fine Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he is the recipient of the Commonwealth Award for Fine Art (2002) and the Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1995).
In addition to major solo exhibitions, including Visionary Anatomies (National Academy of Sciences, 2005-6) and Ringshout (Worcester Art Museum, 2003), Yarde’s work has been seen in many important group shows, among them Pulse: Art, Healing, and Transformation (Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2003) and Locating the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in African American Art (Anacostia Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1999). His work is in the permanent collections of many major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Kismet: New Work by Richard Yarde is supported in part by the Karen L. Chase ’97 Fund.