This spring, Ronin Gallery invites you on a journey through Japan with the exhibition Sea to Mountain: Landscapes of Japan. Featuring the work of Hokusai, Hiroshige, Hasui, and Yoshida, this exhibition explores the tradition of meisho-e, or pictures of famous places, through both ukiyo-e and modern masters. From white sails in misty harbors to lush mountain passes, these works capture the unique and unyielding beauty of the Japanese landscape, from shore to peak.
Landscapes and seascapes first gained popularity as travel regulations loosened in the 19th century. A newly authorized wanderlust propelled the genre to popularity, inviting their viewer to capture a memory or revel in his or her travel aspirations. Hokusai and Hiroshige defined the genre, trading imagined landscapes for the intimacy of life on the road and the natural beauty of Japan. Their work carries an unmistakable sensitivity to human experience and a deference to the power of nature. Just as these works inspired the Impressionists in the 19th century, they continue to awe viewers today.
The landscapes of the early 20th century bloom from the union of memory and modernity. Drawing influence from the masterpieces of Hokusai and Hiroshige, Hasui and Yoshida revived the art of the landscape print. Influenced by the Impressionists, these artists considered the effects of varying light and individual mood, capturing a spectrum of time and season. Simultaneously, a growing sense of realism permeates these works. Nonetheless, even with their Western influence and modern marketing, their ukiyo-e roots are undeniable. Though separated by a century, these distinct approaches to the Japanese landscape resonate in their tangible infatuation with Japan and its people.