555 Gallery is pleased to announce our current exhibition
FREEDOM OF SPIRIT, HARMONY WITH NATURE
ON VIEW NOVEMBER 5TH - DECEMBER 15TH, 2016
Through an exhibition of his stunning platinum photographs
discover the photographer's profound reverence for harmony
with nature and his fascination with the writing and
philosophy of Henry David Thoreau.
Please join us Sunday, November 6th, 2 - 5 pm for an artist reception
Japanese photographer Koichiro Kurita graduated from Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe, where he studied perceptual psychology, using a camera extensively to stimulate the function of the eye in his research that examined how people view moving objects under changing circumstances. He worked as a young man for a Tokyo advertising agency before becoming a successful independent photographer and director of commercials. But at the age of forty, moved by his reading of Walden by the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862), Kurita moved away from his lucrative career in the city in order to fully direct his photography toward meditative expressions of his connection to the rural world.
In order to concentrate on large-format landscape photography, Kurita retreated to a studio in the Yatsugatake Mountains a hundred miles northwest of Tokyo, where, he writes, “the feeling was Walden.” After obtaining a grant from the Asian Cultural Council created by John D. Rockefeller III to encourage international dialogue between Asian and American artists and scholars, he was able to travel and photograph in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain.
Since 1993 Kurita has maintained studios in New York and Massachusetts, focusing his impressions of the natural world – quiet New England woodlands, remote Boundary Waters lakes and rocks of Minnesota and Canada, or natural features of California – by extracting poetic details from the greater landscape. He uses nineteenth century photographic printing processes to create monochromatic prints. His handmade platinum palladium, albumen, and salt prints on paper made from the Japanese gampi tree have enhanced the delicacy and subtle resonance of his images, linking historical yet timeless qualities with his contemporary vision.
His photographs have been widely collected and exhibited both in galleries and museums around the world, including the Bibliotheque National, Paris, the George Eastman House, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Yamanashi Prefecture Art Museum, Kofu, Japan.*
* Thank you to our colleagues at the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, who recently organized the exhibition: From the smallest leaf: Photographs by Koichiro Kurita (April-September, 2016).
WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER? - ELIN SPRING : PEACE BE WITH YOU
KOICHIRO KURITA: FREEDOM OF SPIRIT, HARMONY WITH NATURE
ARE YOU READY TO WELCOME SOME PEACE BACK INTO YOUR LIFE? THE SERENE BEAUTY OF JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHER KOICHIRO KURITA’S PLATINUM PALLADIUM LANDSCAPES WILL RESTORE YOUR FAITH IN THE WORLD. HIS SOLO SHOW FREEDOM OF SPIRIT, HARMONY WITH NATURE IS ON VIEW AT 555 GALLERY IN SOUTH BOSTON THROUGH DECEMBER 10, 2016. THIS IS VISUAL THERAPY AT ITS BEST.
The idea that humans are one with nature is embraced in Japanese Buddhist tradition and echoed in Western spiritual literature. Decades ago, when Koichiro Kurita encountered a Japanese translation of “Walden” by the celebrated American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, it resonated so deeply with him that he quit his career as a successful commercial photographer and moved to wooded mountain havens in Japan and upstate New York. Now based in New York and Thoreau’s Massachusetts, he continues to unify his philosophy with his artistic practice by using “slow photography” methods in images that portray the mystique of the natural world.
Shooting with an 8”x10” view camera at a low camera angle that might describe the viewpoint of a small woodland animal, Kurita creates contemplative perspectives that emphasize the interfaces between land, water and sky, borders that accentuate the forces of nature. Sometimes using a single negative and other times creating more encompassing views with negatives combined into a careful grid, Kurita prints luscious B&W platinum palladium photographs on handmade Japanese Gampi paper, renowned for its long, smooth fibers that bestow a pearlescent sheen to the images.
Platinum palladium printing is one of the oldest, most stable and visually expressive methods of making photographs in the world. Since each print is created by hand using customized chemical formulas and papers, along with a lot of tinkering and time, every photograph is a unique work of art. More importantly, the method bestows an exquisite range of tones from black to white, subtle gradations that emphasize detail and dimensionality to create particularly sensitive landscapes. Add to that the warm, earthy hues that typify platinum palladium prints and Kurita’s graceful harmony of method and message are realized.
urita’s quiet meditations often focus on a detail in the landscape – a twig caught in a waterfall, droplets of water on leaves of grass, reflections of sky in water – that confer feelings of both intimacy and universality. With deep looking, his elegant balance of compositional elements slowly reveals opposing natural forces. “Still” and “moving” are not only visual perceptions but emotional ones in Kurita’s fluent, wordless poems.