This exhibition is dedicated to my sister Hatsue Yoshikawa, who was exposed to the bombing of Hiroshima when she was two years old. She consequently developed cancer at age fifteen and passed away fifty years ago. – Akira Yoshikawa
1 Shisen-dô Temple was built in 1641 by the poet and scholar of Chinese classics and calligraphy Jôzan Ishikawa (1583-1672) as his personal, mountain retreat. It is highly regarded for its tranquility and its azaleas which bloom yearly in May. The building includes a small moon-viewing room which juts out from the roof (unfortunately, inaccessible to visitors today). A temple since 1716, it now belongs to the Sôtô sect of Zen Buddhism.
2 The sôzu is a unique garden feature at Shisen-dô and is the only original functioning sôzu today.
3 The exhibition title references the Japanese phrase do (the way of) in describing the arts, such as ju-do (the way of balance), ken-do (the way of sword), cha-do (the way of tea), sho-do (the way of calligraphy).
4 Artist statement, March 2008.
5 See Ted Rettig’s A Clear and Open Poetry of Suchness: Recent Works by Akira Yoshikawa (Art Gallery of Peterborough, 2004).
6 Artist statement, March 2008.
7 For a discussion of Yoshikawa’s work negotiating two cultural traditions, Japanese philosophy and Minimalism, see Rettig, 2004.
8 The artist recalled seeing images from the World Trade Centre attack in September 2001, in particular the ash that covered everything in the vicinity. This vision stayed with him and recently resurfaced when Yoshikawa was struck by the beauty of bread crumbs on his plate. He began to experiment with recreating the texture, composition, and intensity of this chance finding. He considered several materials, and discovered that flour brushed gently and patiently on a block of plywood evoked the initial vision to which he was drawn.
Akira Yoshikawa was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1949 and immigrated to Canada in 1961. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1974 and has since exhibited nationally and internationally. His solo exhibitions include Select Works (2006) at the Gendai Gallery, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto; Random and Imposed Order (2004) at the Art Gallery of Peterborough; The Champions of the Freedom Seekers (1997) at Red Head Gallery; and Akira Yoshikawa (1993) at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound. Group exhibitions comprise order/disorder (2008) at the Latcham Gallery, Stouffville; In Case of Rapture (2002) at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston; and Take a Closer Look (2001) at the Robert Langen Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo. Yoshikawa’s works are in the collections of numerous art galleries in Ontario as well as in private collections. He is represented by Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto.
Georgiana Uhlyarik is a curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario where she has been working on the installation of the Canadian collection for the reopening in November 2008. Independently, she has recently curated order/disorder at Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, ON, as well as transient at Terminal One, Pearson International Airport, Toronto, both featuring the work of Akira Yoshikawa. She is also the co-organizer, along with Flavio Trevisan and Scott Sørli, of the Parkdale International Art Fair at convenience gallery, Toronto, in October 2008. Uhlyarik received her MA in Art History from York University in 1998, and her Honours BA from University of Toronto. She grew up in North York but now lives in downtown Toronto with her twin sons. This past summer she traveled to Japan to visit Kyoto temples as well as Hiroshima, Yoshikawa’s native city.
Design and Editing: Tony Hewer
Digital publication to the exhibition Akira Yoshikawa: the way of now
Presented by the Koffler Gallery | September 11 — November 30, 2008 | Guest Curator: Georgiana Uhlyarik
© Koffler Centre of the Arts, 2008, in collaboration with the individual contributors.
All rights reserved. ISBN 978-0-920863-83-1.