Place: New York

Shanghai: Koharu Exhibition in New York

Art Categories:  Painting


New Century Artists is pleased to present a new exhibition of Koharu’s silk, aquatint and monotype prints, entitled “Shanghai,” at the New Century Artists Gallery (530West 25th Street, Suite 406, New York, NY, www. Gallery Hours, Tue-Sat 11:00AM-6:00PM). Opening reception: Saturday, September 7, 3-6PM.


Statement of the Artist about this Exhibition


From March through August 2010 I stayed in Shanghai to create and exhibit my artwork at the Shanghai International Science and Art Exhibition. One sunny morning I was walking on a shopping street when a large white panty caught my eye. Shamelessly stretched on a hanger, it was fluttering majestically from a window above, to be air-dried. Wow, I thought, shocking! Panties are supposed to be hidden. Shameless, isn’t it?



Or, am I too sensitive and modest—because I am Japanese? In Japan some public toilets greet visitors with classical music or sound effects to cover the sounds that you might make using the facility. Quite a peculiar device, isn’t it? Or are Japanese just overly self-conscious?



I was so impressed by the boldness of that white “object” fluttering in the breeze in Shanghai that I could not “wash that panty right outta my hair.” In the end the image of white lace waving in the breeze began to distract me from my usual subject of roses and I had no choice but to work with panties.



-About the Artist-


Since I was a little girl, I have always loved drawing. After school, I frequented a neighborhood bookstore where I spent hours and hours completely absorbed in girls’ magazines and comic books. I used to sit in a little corner of the bookstore until closing time when the bookstore owner nagged me to go home.


Whenever I earned small allowances, I bought a fashion or celebrity magazine. At home after dinner, I carefully copied the dresses and characters I found intriguing in the magazines. I loved to create something new out of the other artists’ pieces.


After I graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, I lived a life which had really nothing to do with drawing or making art. However, as I devoted myself to raising two children, and not my art, I always felt something was missing from my life. While living in New York for several months one year, I began to feel that I might be able to create something again. So after returning to Japan, I obtained a student visa to study drawing at the National Academy School of Fine Arts in New York in 1998.


At the National Academy School of Fine Arts I initially majored in watercolor, but after one and a half years, I began to feel that I was doing what I already knew very well. That’s why I chose a course I had never tried—printmaking. Initially, I studied dry point printing technique but this technique caused me much muscle pain. As a result I began to look for another technique and discovered monotype printing. Creating a monotype involves applying ink with a roller or brush on a plate and then drawing an image on the plate. The next step is to press a print by applying paper to the plate and rubbing it. One day, I started printing images of a rose. Next day, I was still kept making prints of roses– just like a child playing with mud and creating something fun one after the other. I made more than 50 printings of roses in 10 days. I was in a trance. As I created them, I could vent all of my frustration.


In retrospect, printmaking was, for me, a form of “art-therapy.” I renewed my student visa for another five years and continued to study at the Academy. At that time, I did not even dream about putting together exhibitions. However, after being encouraged by some of my friends, I held exhibitions first in Japan and then abroad. Today, I spend time in New York, Shanghai and wherever I find a studio, to create new pieces and hold exhibitions.


In the past 15 years, I have visited different countries, including China, Latvia, Nepal, Brazil, Peru, and Thailand, which have given me inspiration for my prints.