Japanese Birds (and more) from LACMA

On my recent trip to LA for the annual CAA conference I had the opportunity to visit the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA). While there I became enamored with two things – the lithographs of plants by Ellsworth Kelly and the collection of Japanese paintings.

The Ellsworth Kelly lithographs were absolutely amazing. The confidence in the line and the simplicity of the form were perfectly balanced on the large sheets of stark white paper. I was always intimidated by lithography as a student so to see such beautiful examples was exciting on a technical and aesthetic level. I will be ordering the book in the very near future.

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Ellsworth Kelly, Lemon (Citron), from the LACMA website

The Japanese art wing of LACMA was amazingly designed. Spiraling ramps led upward and downward from the main level, diverting off to small areas where hanging scrolls were displayed above pits of black rocks. The entire building felt mildly cool and smelled of rain – it was very conducive to the work. On the top floor were additional paintings and more three dimensional objects.

I’ve always been deeply influenced by eastern art and the poetic handling of paint. I was very inspired by the clean minimal handling of the lines – very similar to my reaction to Kelly’s use of line in his lithographs. I snapped lots of pictures of birds in the paintings (details).

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Oda Kaisen, Herons And Willows, 19th Century (detail)

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Unknown, Winter Landscape, c. 1550 (detail)
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Yukinobu, Reisho (detail)

The following details are all from a collection of 12 ceramic plates depicting the 12 lunar months by Ogata Kenzan (c. 1700).

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