West Encounter’s East’â„¢Â (WEE) was founded by Stella Holmes, president of The Brickellianâ„¢, who had the vision to explore encounters with the artistic traditions that influenced Latin American contemporary artists who are the descendants of JapaneseÂ immigrantsÂ that came to Latin America over the last century. This year’s project, Light and Shadows, shows the works of seven Latin American artists, five from Brazil and two from Argentina. â€œWith this exhibition the WEE Project reaffirms its mission to promote the encounter between cultures through artâ€ said Ms. Holmes.
The theme Light and Shadows reflects a recurring concept in art and life in Japan, where it has a much larger meaning than in the West.
Yutaka Toyota was born in Tendo, Japan, in 1931 and arrived in Brazil in 1962. From 1965 to 1968, he lived in Milan, Italy, where he worked with designer Bruno Munari developing his research on sculpture with reflexes. He revolutionized the concept of sculpture in Brazil, receiving the most important awards in the country, and several of his monuments can be seen in the city of SÃ£o Paulo, where he lives.
Toyota constructed his sculptures in stainless steel with absolute precision, creating shiny surfaces that are almost mirrors and reflect and distort both the surroundings and the color elements that he introduces. His work is completed by the visitorÂ´s interactions, such as circling around the object. The artist has also made some kinetic sculptures that can be manipulated by the spectator, creating a dance of shapes.
Megumi Yuasa was born in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, in 1938. He lives and works in SÃ£o Paulo. He is an autodidact and does sculptures in ceramic and as well as giving lessons in this technique. His entry into the art circuit occurred in the seventies. He is considered one of the great Brazilian sculptors and a master in the art of ceramics.
Megumi transforms clay into poetry and expresses his philosophical thoughts in a non-verbal language. One of the artistâ€™s marks is the simplicity with which he constructs his sculptures with few elements, establishing extremely delicate and harmonious connections that are sometimes interrupted by mysterious elements â€“ such as plants.
The work “Montanha Partida” was inspired by KafkaÂ´s short story “The Bridge,” in which a man extends himself at the edge of a ravine, grasping two sides of a mountain, believing that he is a bridge â€“ a bridge that will no longer exist when it is crossed for the first time.
Kazuo Okubo was born in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, in 1958. He lives and works in BrasÃlia. His father was a photographer, and Okubo began taking photos when he was fifteen years old. In the ’80s he worked successfully in publicity and took photos for the most important Brazilian magazines. Over the past years he has increasingly dedicated himself to authorial photos. In 2009, he founded A Casa da Luz Vermelha gallery, in BrasÃlia, which specializes in artistic photographs. Okubo paints with light, and his favorite subjects are landscapes â€“ human landscapes. The artist creates illusions where reality is revealed slowly and gradually. His photos, carefully constructed with bodies and shadows, cause some surprise, and contain a touch of humor. Okubo considers himself to be a voyeur – a sensitive voyeur.
Born in Brazil in 1950, Takashi Fukushima is the son of the great Japanese artist Tikashi Fukushima. From early on he had contact with Seibi-kai and the Grupo Guanabara. He began to exhibit at the end of the 1970s. He is a painter, a draftsman and professor at the University of SÃ£o Paulo, the city where he lives and works.
His work confirms the cultural synthesis that influenced him. From the beginning of his career, he has studied landscapes.
The artist paints cosmic scenes permeated by transparency and luminosity, marked by subtle details of colors and shades. His work seeks to establish a connection between nature and the universe, integrating science and art. For the Tibetans, “Kylkhor” is the name of the magic circle, the Mandala.
Cristina SÃ¡ was born in SÃ£o Paulo in1956, and is not of Japanese descent ; her grandfather was Chinese. She was a pupil of artist engraver Maciej Babinski, and graduated in Design. She lives and works in SÃ£o Paulo.
Her paintings are constructed on big white or empty spaces. Suggestions of branches and bamboo compose a landscape that seems ready to be dissolved. In it, the artist scatters subtle details of color, created with elaborate oriental paper that is torn or carefully trimmed. The asymmetric balance of her work has the delicacy and strength of ukiyo-es and sumi-es, and blends the East with the West. Cristina represents a great number of Brazilian artists who are influenced by the Japanese culture.
Born in Buenos Aires and raised according to Japanese customs, Guillermo Uenoâ€™s multicultural heritage includes maternal and paternal Japanese grandparents who immigrated to Argentina between 1926-1933. On two separate occasions, the artist lived in Japan: in Nagoya during 1989-90, and returning to Tokyo from 1991-1992. A few years later, Ueno, who received training at the Escuela de Arte FotogrÃ¡fico de Avellaneda, became the assistant to Alberto Goldenstein (b. 1951), who founded and continues to curate the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas.
Ueno aims to create imagery that reflects Japanese adaptability and multiplicity of character. He describes his narratives as â€œkoansâ€ (Zen Buddhist riddles) that depict â€œpartners in a dreamy erratic trajectory”. Uenoâ€™s settings range from interior domestic dwellings â€’ where a minority Argentine population of Nikkei heritage is experiencing a private, mundane, yet introspective moment â€’ to an outdoor scene representing a solitary figure in a secluded forest.
Born into a multicultural heritage, Yamamoto was raised in the Japanese colony of Buenos Aires as a child. At the age of thirteen, her family moved to the Patagonia region of Argentina, a region of steppe-like plains almost bare of vegetation. The dual impact of her familial lineage and of the landscape formed the basis for Yamamotoâ€™s motifs and for her credo: to create the â€œhaunting ideas of sounds, memories, forms, or simple observations of my surrounding.â€
Yamamoto moved to Miami in 2001, where she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Florida International University in 2008. During her training, she began to develop â€œbiomorphicâ€ forms that resemble natural motifs yet seem to be transforming. The result of Yamamotoâ€™s aesthetic is a poetic interplay of space, line, texture, and shape.
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