Post Road Magazine #33

In Memoriam—
Hiro Ichikawa: Paintings & Etchings

Hiro Ichikawa, Aether I, 2014, Spit-bite etching, 5 ¾" x 5 ¾"

Oil color painted directly on wooden panels, watercolor on paper, and spit-bite etchings—these works are my interpretation of traditional Japanese Shan Shui paintings. Literally translated, Shan Shui means mountain and water, but in Japanese art, Shan Shui represents the creation of an imaginary landscape that doesn't exist in the physical realm. The painting itself becomes a landscape with elements extracted from nature instead of rendering what you see. Shan Shui can be traced to the tenth century in China, but its current simplified look comes from Zen Buddhism in Japan during the fifteenth century.

Small dots are applied by small brushes, one by one, to build tones and shapes. Oil paintings are integrated with the wood grain of the birch panels that I use as the support. Often I get inspired from the shapes in the wood grain. When I work with watercolor, I enjoy the way the paper absorbs the ink dot by dot, almost like having a conversation with the grain of the paper.

Having lived in the Hudson Valley for many years, the influence of the strong presence of mountains and rivers became an integral part of my paintings. Even though my works are not straight depictions of the landscape we see around us, I try to transform the essence of nature into my pictorial space like traditional Shan Shui painters did.

Hiro Ichikawa

Hiro Ichikawa, Vacuole, 2015, Oil on wood panel, 23 7/8" x 16 ¾"





Hiro Ichikawa, Fusor I, 2014, Oil on wood panel, 15 ¼" x 11 3/8"





Hiro Ichikawa, Forecast, 2010, Oil on wood panel, 11 7/8" x 16"





Hiro Ichikawa, Overlay, 2012, Oil on wood panel, 38 ½" x 24"





Hiro Ichikawa, Shoal, 2012, Oil on wood panel, 31 7/8" x 16"





Hiro Ichikawa, Waves II, 2014, Oil on wood panel, 7 3/8" x 7 3/8"





Hiro Ichikawa, Variant, 2010, Oil on wood panel, 11 7/8" x 16"





Hiro Ichikawa, Plotting Alizarin, 2011, Watercolor on paper, 7 ¼" x 7 ¼"





Hiro Ichikawa, Blue Ascent, 2012, Watercolor on paper, 18 1/2" x 7 ¾" (image); 46 1/2" x 12" (scroll)





Hiro Ichikawa, Aether II, 2014, Spit-bite etching, 5 ¾" x 5 ¾"





Hiro Ichikawa, Compound, 2013, Oil on wood panel, 23 ¾" x 11 ½"





Hiro Ichikawa, Ascent, 2014, Oil on wood panel, 69 ½" x 36"





Hiro Ichikawa, Confluence, 2012, Oil on wood panel, 23 7/8" x 7 7/8"





Hiro Ichikawa, Mingling II, 2014, Oil on wood panel, 9" x 9"





Hiro Ichikawa, Ravine, 2014, Oil on wood panel, 23 7/8" x 14 5/8"





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