Between Naturalism and Artifice

Images of Birds, Plants and Animals in Modern Japan

Opening Reception: Friday, March 3, 5:00pm

In East Asia, artists have long dedicated themselves to capturing the fleeting moments of nature through the lively renderings of birds, insects, flowers, and animals. Collectively known as "bird-and-flower" images, the genre's rich symbolisms make them an ideal vehicle to mark and celebrate auspicious events. In the early 20th century, high demand of bird-and-flower images from the Western market prompted the production of modern prints of flora and fauna, especially in Japan. This exhibition features prints of the natural world created primarily for the Western market. Balancing naturalism with artifice in the vivid depictions of birds, insects, flowers, and other auspicious animals, artists honored the prestigious tradition while also innovating the genre with modern techniques and methods. 

This exhibition is curated by senior art history majors Ellie Mariani, Sydney Nguyen and Ava Zadrima under the direction Ren Wei.