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Artists to Watch: Hiroshi Senju

January 26, 2018

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Last semester I got the opportunity to go on the Fine Arts Trip to Chicago with fellow student artists. Personally, the highlight of the trip was the Art Expo. It seemed as though the amount of artworks that were on display were infinite, which is why the expo takes place over the course of days. Due to the short weekend we were spending in Chicago, we were only at the expo for a few hours. Out of all of the incredible artworks that were exhibited, there were only a few that captivated me, and only one that brought me to tears.

This artwork is called “Waterfall,” by Hiroshi Senju. When people think of “typical” art, they think of paintings of landscapes or fruit bowls. While those types of paintings can serve to show off incredible skills at depicting realism, the subject matter is not fascinating. However, Senju has challenged this idea and transformed the typical scenery of a waterfall into a majestic abstract world that pulls you in. He demonstrates that something as simple as water for subject matter can have so much emotion and mystery to the point of literally bringing someone to tears.

There is no need for words or people within this piece, because the way that the paint has cascaded onto the paper says it all. The fog says it all. The way that the viewer cannot seem to look beyond the waterfall says it all. The painting speaks to the viewer’s own experiences and interpretations. It is one of those artworks that begs to be seen in person in order to fully comprehend it. Photographs will never do it justice, especially when trying to show the massive scale of the piece.

Senju studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts, in his native Japan, and is currently based in New York City. This “Waterfall” painting is part of the “Nightfall” series where the glowing water is starkly contrasted with the dark background. Senju works with traditional Japanese techniques, with some as old as 100 years, on Japanese Mulberry paper. His work is available at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Lily Guillen
Photography Manager

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