During my end-of-year holiday, I was fortunate to be on three-day road trip with my family. On the last day of the trip, I visited Adachi Museum of Art in Shimane, where is known as one of the most famous Japanese gardens in Japan. The garden is accompanied by exhibition spaces displaying Japanese paintings and pottery.
The main garden was characterized by the harmonious relationship between the manmade curved outline of azaleas and moss, and the organic forms of rocks from the river. The garden was well maintained as the gravel (granite in small pieces) spread over the ground was leveled with no footsteps or mess. The landscape of the garden was fitting into the landscape beyond the garden; the round apexes of mountains are communicated with the Composition of the garden.
There were an old Japanese building renovated to adapt into the atmosphere of the garden; the walls of the building were trimmed and made into the windows, as they were made in imitation of picture frames and a hanging scroll. Through those windows, the visitors were able to capture the moment in the garden as an artwork.
The museum displayed photographs of gardens in different seasons. The gardens showed various faces and characteristics by the change of colours of leaves, flowers and the density of the leaves. In the garden, the time seemed to be stopped due to the lack of dynamic movement (apart from the waterfall), however, over a long period of time, the garden is kept changing slowly.
In the museum, I observed Japanese paintings by artists such as Yokoyama Taikan, Uemura Shoen, and Hishida Shunso. There were many works by Taikan drawn with only India ink, which expressed the endless possibilities of this media through the use of blurring techniques and the emphasis on lines. Taikan’s representation of clouds and mists using negative space and the dimmed edge of ink truly reminded me of the beauty of the Japanese landscape, especially the jet black mountains.
In the annex to the main exhibition space, I enjoyed appreciating artworks by contemporary Japanese painters. Many of them in large scale provided the powerful and spirited depiction of the buildings, people and the landscape, which mainly featured the bright color schemes (unlike artists in Taikan’s time). I loved the contrast between different periods of Japanese paintings and the variety of the painting techniques, selection of media / materials.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the history of the Japanese paintings at Adachi Museum of Art 🙂