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Keeping Chillicothe weird.

After coming back from a city that is truly a smorgasbord of eccentric people – foreigners, lolita girls, otaku’s, salarymen, death metal musicians, seniors, gangsters, students business owners, comedians, housewives, etc. – I was prepared for some dullness when I came back to Chillicothe.

In a big city like Tokyo, it is easy to take diversity for granted. Tokyo accounts for ten percent of Japan’s total population, not to mention that it draws around seven million visitors each year. Just in the university that I attended alone, more than eight percent of the students population was composed of international students from over ninety countries.

So when I came back to Chillicothe, I was ready to be the only minority in the town. Surprisingly, on my first day back, I met a woman from Fayette county who told me about her admiration for the Chillicothe downtown area. She marveled about the work small business owners did to keep the city alive and interesting. When I pressed to hear more, she told me about an impressive exhibition opening she attended to celebrate her artist friend’s work. “Which gallery?” I asked. “The one on Water Street,” she said.

And she was right about how impressive the gallery was. When I attended the August gallery stroll at the PVG, I immediately felt at ease and was excited to see a community of people talking to each other while enjoying art, live music, and food. What surprised me was not only the number of people who were present, but also the mix of people. There were students, people of different races, people from other cities, teachers, artists, musicians, business owners, dancers, veterans, and couples. The art world is often marked by pretension; so it is such an honor to work at a gallery that puts a strong value in uniting everyone. As they they in Austin, Texas, let’s “KEEP CHILLICOTHE WEIRD.”

Posted by Connie

無為徒食

無為徒食(むいとしょく)
何もしないで毎日ぶらぶらと遊び暮すこと
用例:そろそろ無為徒食の生活はやめて、ちゃんとした職業についたらどうだね。

Muitoshoku (Four-character idiom)
Idling one’s time away
Ex: How about finding a steady job instead of idling your time away?

I left Japan about a week ago. It was truly a blink of time.

From seeing Cezanne at The National Art Center Tokyo and The Vision of Contemporary Art at the Ueno Royal Museum to enjoying the Arab Express at  the Mori Art Museum and Boro-Japanse Textile Art- at the Amuse Museum to admiring Ken Kuroi’s illustrations at Matsuya Ginza Gallery and Luna Flora Soap Art Collection at Takashimaya Shinjuku Department Store, I feel like I saw an eclectic mix of art while in Tokyo. Yet, I regret how I could have spent more time exploring… If only I was not idling my time away.

Luckily, there’s a website called Spoon & Tamago to keep us updated 🙂

Posted by Connie

春日遅遅〜spring day being long and balmy〜

久しぶり!Long time no (cyber) see! Today, I’m going to post some photos of the museums I visited in Nagano, Japan. I lived in the “snow wonderland” for a month and a half before going to Tokyo for a semester-long study abroad program. Now that I have different perspectives on living in different cities in Japan (Tokyo, Nagano, and Fukuoka), I am determined that Nagano is the best place to live like an American. There is so much more freedom, but less bureaucracy in Nagano than in Tokyo. I definitely felt less constrained and stressed in Nagano.

The two most well-known cities in Nagano Prefecture are probably Nagano city and Matsumoto city. The two pictures above and the four pictures below are taken at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art and The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, respectively. Both are located in Matsumoto, and both are excellent museums to visit if you are in the area.

Unfortunately, I do not have many photos from the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, but it is seriously worth visiting given its awesome exhibitions and permanent collections (See: 草間彌生, Yayoi Kusama). As the museum website indicates, Matsumoto is a beautiful city to wander around either before or after your museum visit. I cannot recommend it enough.

Another museum worth visiting is the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, located on the outer edge of Matsumoto. The Ukiyo-e Museum originated as a private collection of Sakai Nobuo, a wealthy businessman who collected over 100,000 ukiyo-e’s (Japanese woodblock prints that depict the picture of “buoyant and joyful, or floating world”). Here, you will see the original version of famous prints, such as The Great Wave off Kanagawa or the 36 views of Mount Fuji series. Not many people know about this hidden treasure; so you will be able to look at each piece slowly without much distraction. The architecture of the building is made with a lot of open spaces and intricate designs. The sun shining through the large window panes was a fantastic view for the cold but beautiful February.

The last picture is unfortunately the only picture I shot at the Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum,  which boasts an impressive collection of paintings by Higashiyama Kai. The serene setting of the museum perfectly complements the soft and dreamy paintings of Higashiyama. I once asked a Japanese student who she thinks the most famous painter in Japan is. Without hesitation, she answered Higashiyama Kai. Go take a look at his masterpiece, 緑響く(echoes of the green).

Posted by Connie

Grit

Here is to another sentimental post about mothers. My mother wanted to be a fashion designer when she was young. Her father chose architecture for her. Nonetheless, she continued to make her own clothes and tailored her friends’ clothes during her spare time. When she didn’t have the money to buy a wedding gown for her wedding, she made her own. I remember seeing the pictures of her wedding when I was young, first bursting in laughter because of the pink fuzzy sweater and the brown pants that she wore, but later being struck by the utter glamour of her outfit. Recently when I asked her to tailor a woolen skirt that was too big for me, I saw her inner spark. I sat there sweetly admiring the way she touched and examined the fabric, paying minute attention to every corner of the garment while mentally calculating the fit. It was so beautiful to see the artist working away, especially the intensity of her concentration and determination. I wear my skirt with pride.

Posted by Connie

Sunshine Gold

 

Happy 2012! It’s the third day of the new year, yet all I have been doing is catching up with the yesteryear. Watching movies, reading books, listening to music–all the things I missed while chalking away during the school year. I realize that I’ve been a slacker: I have only written a total of seven posts in 2011, but.

The day I came home after school ended coincided with my mother’s return from Mauritius, where she has been working for the past year. Our family reunited, but 2/3 of us were jet-lagged, and 1/3 of us was sick; so instead of a big tight hug, we all collapsed. After Christmas, we all had our shares of recuperative shopping spree–my mom with her two day tour of mall after malls, me with my wishlist on Amazon, and my dad with a trip to the Houston Chinatown. Before New Years, my mother dug these jewelry out of her treasure drawer and passed them on to me. I think it was an excuse to get rid of things in order to buy new ones. But I happened to like everyone of them, because my mom has a kickass taste.

Jewelry passed down from moms and grandmas always feels so precious to me. They are reminders of love that I can carry with me wherever I go. I feel protected. Poised.

It’s what made them so beautiful. If only I carry with me a sliver of that beauty.

What are your favorite jewelry passed down from your mom, grandmas, grand-grandmas…?

Posted by Connie

798 Art Zone in Beijing through the lens

As I continue to bring you the energetic art scene in China through my Canon lenses, I wanted to make sure that I write a little about the 798 Art District in Beijing. This perfect mix of galleries, exhibitions, shops, cafes, and restaurants made it one of my favorite and least favorite destination in China. It was my favorite because I didn’t want to leave, but it was also my least favorite because I didn’t want to leave.

First, the rebuilding and makeover of this large military factory complex by a group of architects and artists is delightfully unique and visually pleasing in that many of the Maoist slogans and iconic industrial machinery, as well as the large-scale buildings have been preserved. Second, an eclectic mix of cute, avant-garde, modern, post-modern, and traditional Chinese art can be found as you walk from one stop to another. Third, there is art everywhere: outside, inside, on the walls, on the floor, on top of the buildings… Yes, there is a physical limitation to how much art you can absorb in a day.

Both my friend and I ended up getting a headache after seeing a piece that was so powerful to the point where we couldn’t avert our eyes. We felt like our bodies, along with our psyches, started to collapse after staring at the details of the painting for so long. The painting drew us in so deeply that we felt dazed and confused by the time we left the building. So beware when you visit — make sure to get a healthy dose of food, drinks, and air before you get lost in this amazing place.

Posted by Connie

Hello from China!

I stumbled upon a really cool gallery/restaurant/bar/spa/hotel a few weeks ago while traveling to the city of Dalian, China. It is called Thai’s, and I felt as if I found a treasure — just like how I think PVG is a little gem in the city of Chillicothe. My friend and I were the only guests there during the entirety of lunch hours. We ended up spending two hours at the restaurant talking, eating, drinking while enjoying the beautiful decorations. Take a look!

The first floor is full of sculptures, paintings, furniture, etc.

The beautiful ceiling!

Thai themed art

Pleasant surprises

Love the simple designs!

Have no idea what those are. I assume they are decorations?

Delightful staircases

The second floor is the restaurant/bar

The third floor is also for dining

Where we ate

Thai curry. Perfect size and taste for the afternoon.

A touch of green makes everything even better

Map of Thailand

Wish we had the time for a massage…

I don’t wanna leave!

Posted by Connie

I WEAR…

Hi everyone! We decided to do something cool and fun for this intolerably hot month of June. That is, we want to see and hear about a current piece of JEWELRY that you are wearing. It could be a necklace, ring, bracelet, earrings, etc.

Just set up your webcam (or take a picture of yourself with your smartphone/camera) and post it on this blog as a comment or to our Facebook page! Make sure to also add a little blurb about where you got it (if available) and what’s special about it. Was it passed down from your grandmother? Is it your lucky bracelet? Is it a present from someone special? Tell us the story and we will put all the replies together in a special blog post. And one random commenter will get a $10 credit to the Park View Gallery!

HAVE FUN! We cannot wait to see your pictures and stories!!

Chaos

Most recently, I realized why I really like art. As I was doing research for a paper that I had to write for a class called The Union between Music and Dance, I found myself descending into a realm of absolute restlessness, which eventually resulted in fits of frustration and idiosyncratic movements like obsessively untangling my hair and picking my nails.

I have always had a hard time writing papers because sometimes I don’t know how to put my feelings into abstract words. I would have something to say, but when translating those thoughts into explanations, the thoughts die. My mind wonders, jumps, and bounces around, and a thought easily escapes my head when I try to embody it in a “concise and clear manner,” which is what we are taught to write like.

On the other hand, the process of making art gives you all the freedom to do whatever you want. There is no need to express your ideas using standardized language, and you can spend numerous hours perfecting your art, the way you want it. There is no necessity of transforming your thoughts to the way your professors wants it or to conform to an academic universe. Of course, in college, the purpose it to establish a foundational muscle for learners so that they can venture into their own thoughts later. But, sometimes I just want to follow John Cage and do what he did. He dropped out of Pomona College when pursuing a career as a writer. In an excerpt from his autobiographical statement, he says:

I was shocked at college to see one hundred of my classmates in the library all reading copies of the same book. Instead of doing as they did, I went into the stacks and read the first book written by an author whose name began with Z. I received the highest grade in the class. That convinced me that the institution was not being run correctly. I left.

The more I listen to his music, the more I feel like my breath is taken away. His music means everything and nothing; and it is nothing short of spectacular. When browsing around the gallery, that is the feelings I get sometimes. I cannot eliminate the art down to one interpretation, but holistically there is always some unrecognizable form of beauty. That’s why I love art.

Ready for the time to stop

Soft and bold

Don't forget to say hello to the dog!

Posted by Connie

Afterglow

Around this time last year, I was yawning on my bed and grasping my blanket for the last gulp of warmness. This spring, I wake up around 6AM, and do two things I never thought I would do before: exercising before noon and eating breakfast. How things have changed! The only thing that hasn’t changed is my cacti plant, which is sitting near the windowsill. Its color, size, and shape remain as what I saw a year ago; but on a microscopic level, even cactus are going through some significant changes that are invisible to the naked eye.

He surely knows how to win a girl's heart with those wonderful signatures

Park View Gallery has evolved a lot since I first stepped into it doors. Just when I visited the Gallery at the beginning of the month, I noticed a metamorphosis in the set-up of the Gallery. Tables and sofa exchanged their spots; artworks were updated and moved around; and there was a box of BBQ beef pizza in the back room. Mmmmh!

Azn craze!

Nothing quite ushers in spring like an explosion of warmth and color. From the feminine silk scarves to the sleekly framed photographs to the tiny whimsical shoulder bags, be ready to be charmed by the artists’ ability to convey seasonal characteristics. Sometimes I am amazed by how art can manifest your deepest thoughts and feelings.

Gift paradise

Some two weeks ago, I was trying to pick a few gifts for an important occasion at the PVG, and before I realized what time it was, I had already spent over thirty minutes deciding. In economics terms, I have a tendency to generate an excessive search cost, an economic disaster. But thanks to Cindy’s help, I was finally able to pick a pair of dazzling earrings (made by Angie Terry), Autumn Woods Herbal Soap (can be found here), and a photograph by Jack Burns out of a delectable selection of art, jewelry, and accessories. I’ve met a man who bought his wife a surprise gift one night, and a couple that selected each other’s anniversary gift from the gallery. Aside from cheesy romantic thoughts, I recommend you to check out the lovely exhibition by Lynn Carden happening how at OU-Chillicothe (photos here). Here’s my favorite part of her artist’s statement:

“I’ve dug and planted many gardens… When I begin a painting, I select a bloom to bring into the studio — then I hold it in my hand, smell it, turn it this way and that while beginning the meditative experience of drawing.”

“…A Walk in the Garden”
Ohio University- Chillicothe
Bennet Hall, Patricia Scott Gallery
March 11-April 8, 2011
Gallery Hours 9:00AM – 7:30PM

Jewel

Posted by Connie