Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Hideichi Oshiro at The Pratt Library Art Gallery at Goddard College in Plainfield

The Pratt Library Art Gallery at Goddard College is pleased to present a new art exhibition, Art and Breath: The Life Work of Hideichi Oshiro. Hide Oshiro, a 101-year-old Japanese artist, recently donated his life’s work to Goddard College, fulfilling his lifelong dream that his work be housed in an educational institution so that future generations of students could learn from it. This exhibition at Goddard College will be the most comprehensive treatment of the artist’s work ever presented.

Please join us to meet the artist and enjoy music, refreshments, and special presentations in celebration of Hide Oshiro on February 8th, 6:30-8:30 pm. The reception is free and open to the public.

About the artist: Born in 1910 in Hawaii, Oshiro went to Japan at the age of 3 to receive a Japanese education. In Japan Hide learned the art of etching, Japanese “ukiyoe” woodcuts, gold carving, sculpture and brushwork at Ayoama Gakuin Senior High School and Sophia University. It was there that Oshiro studied with the famous painter Gyokudo Kawaii (1873-1957), who taught Hide how to use a brush.

In 1935 Hide returned to Hawaii to renew his American citizenship and began teaching Japanese at a local school on Oahu Island. It was there that he witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor and was imprisoned in an internment camp for three months. After being released he joined the Army and was sent to basic training in Minnesota where he taught intensive Japanese courses to the GIs.

While he was there he took night classes at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. After the war ended in 1945 Oshiro stayed in the Army and was stationed in Toyko. In his free time he studied traditional arts with the masters, including print making and metal work. After his discharge in 1950 he studied art at the Academie de la Grande Chaumeirie in Paris for two years. When he returned to the States he studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and then set up his own studio in Greenwich Village. Hide currently lives in Newburgh, New York.

Having spent his formative years in a country of deep and diverse religious history, he was exposed to native Japanese Shinto, Confucianism from China and Buddhism from India. Christianity took a place of prominence in his life as he entered Sophia University in Tokyo. It is against this backdrop of comparative religions, philosophical thought and art, that the convergence of East and West found its home and method of expression in Hide’s creative process. Ironically, it was the restrictive environment of the Japanese culture that caused him to break free of its constraints and to begin a journey of artistic, philosophical, spiritual and intellectual inquiry.

This exhibition, comprised of over 45 pieces, will cover Oshiro’s entire career and include pieces from many different phases of his artistic development. The exhibition will draw from the many paintings, drawings, calligraphies, prints, handmade books, poems, haikus, stories, sketches and scrolls that were recently donated to the Goddard College Art Collection.

In the sixty years of collected works archived by his wife Catherine, one can witness the vast reaches of the mind of this artist, writer and philosopher. When asked to comment about his work, Oshiro said, “Our minds are like a pond in which we are able to conceive any form, from the largest to the smallest, from a galaxy to an atom, from the blue sky to a minnow.” In his work we are able to share with him his vision of the magnificence of this universe."