Keiko Hara: The Poetics of Space, Four Decades of Paintings and Prints
Name: Keiko Hara: The Poetics of Space, Four Decades of Paintings and Prints
Date: May 24, 2022 - March 4, 2023
Keiko Hara’s exploration of her relationship to her surrounding environment has been continually formulated through the artist’s ongoing series titled, Topophilia. Meaning “a strong love of place,” the term topophilia, with its connection to humanistic geography, also represents a universal desire to hold onto ephemeral moments of beauty and sadness as related to conceptions of place—even if unattainable. This mini-survey exhibition chronicles Hara’s unwavering commitment to painting and her unique form of Mokuhanga, Japanese woodblock printmaking, over a 40-year period. Her abstract compositions are at once immensely sensitive yet executed in vibrant color with references to water, fire, skies, and verdant lands, offering rich metaphorical imagery. Hara’s longtime home in Walla Walla, Washington, situated in an expansive valley flanked by the Blue Mountains, figures centrally within her work as does a more internal investigation into the poetics of space. Tactility of things, their reference to nature, and how we perceive, feel, and understand the universe that we inhabit are all conditions of Hara’s visual enterprise. Hara was born in North Korea to Japanese parents, raised in Japan, and moved to the United States in 1971. She studied printmaking at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan earning an MFA in 1976. Hara taught for many years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, retiring in 2006. With numerous one-person exhibitions to her credit since 1976, Hara has also been included in invitational group exhibitions throughout the United States. Among museums that include Hara’s work in their permanent collections are the National Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Racine Art Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.