Pacific Asia Museum is pleased to announce Gajin Fujita: Ukiyo-e in Contemporary Painting on view April 20 through October 7, 2012 in the Focus Gallery. Gajin Fujita (b. 1972) is a Japanese American artist whose work combines elements of traditional Japanese ukiyo-e art with contemporary American street art and Pop art, among other influences. A native of Los Angeles, Fujita has been steadily gaining international recognition since his first solo gallery exhibition a decade ago. The exhibition at Pacific Asia Museum will be his first solo museum exhibition on the west coast.
Gajin Fujita’s panel paintings are rendered in the spray paint and markers frequently used in graffiti and street art, which would seemingly not allow room for the presence of traditional elements. His range of experiences, from growing up in Boyle Heights with a strong connection to the classical arts of Japan, to creating works both in studio and urban settings, gives him the versatility to move among several worlds simultaneously. It is through his unique approach that references to Japanese woodblock prints or ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) materialize, and convey a singular mix of wry humor, cultural connection and respect for technique.
This selection of Fujita’s recent works open interesting points of comparison and conversation with those of 19th century woodblock print artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi on view beginning May 18, 2012 in the Changing Exhibition Galleries. This exhibition is timed to coincide with Masterpieces of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi as Fujita’s work shares many interesting parallels with the work of the earlier master concerning compositional approaches, the struggle of man in nature, attention to finished surfaces of the work, and a featuring of Japanese folklore and tales of valor and the supernatural.
The exhibition is supported by the Pasadena Art Alliance, Toyota Financial Services, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Sid and Betsey Tyler.