Art of the East

 Uncategorized
Nov 092005
 
Authors: Katie Kelley

Friday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m.

Gifford Room 332

Virginia Dofflemeyer gives a lecture titled, "The Connection to Nature in Traditional Japanese Textiles."

Friday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.

Curfman Gallery

Gary and Carol Anne Hixon will discuss the Japanese Kimono from "the perspective of private collectors"

Curfman Gallery Hours:

Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday: 12 to 4 p.m.

Closed Sunday

The melody of the plucked strings from a Koto instrument echo off the elegantly adorned walls of the Curfman Gallery. As visitors walk down the entrance steps leading into the gallery, they are whisked away from familiar Fort Collins and engulfed in a tradition reaching back thousands of years into Japanese culture.

A panoramic view of the recently revamped gallery reveals glass casings enclosing an array of delicately designed kimonos from the Japanese culture dated between 1910 and 1950.

The authenticity of the collection showcases the splendor and graceful tranquility of this great civilization, displaying approximately 24 different Kimonos. It also features several obi, traditional Kimono sashes.

Approximately 25 of the 300 pieces that comprise the exhibit were donated to CSU from the private collection of Bill and MaryLou Maxson.

"I think it's a great exhibit, personally. I think there are some really beautiful pieces there," said Karen Gardenier, coordinator for International Education.

Gardenier helped coordinate the exhibit, along with several other organizations such as the Japanese Student Association, Department of Design and Merchandising and International Education in the Office of International Programs, among others.

The exhibit is the first of its kind at CSU.

"They [students] can get a sense of the flavor of Japanese culture," said Diane Sparks, guest curator for the exhibit and professor for the design and merchandising department.

It is expected to enlighten students to the depth of the Japanese culture and lifestyle. Not only can individuals view beautiful kimonos at the gallery, but they also can learn about the different styles of weaving and dying in the Japanese tradition.

Several different varieties of kimonos have been developed based off color, class and personality.

Originally five major colors dominated, all of which were developed from the dye of plants. The colors included red from the madder plant, blue/green from the indigo plant, yellow from the gardenia plant, black and white. Later a sixth color of purple was added.

Kimono weavers experimented with a variety of techniques including Kasuri, Yuzen, Shibori, and Katazome, which date back to the Edo period of the 16th Century, Sparks said. The kimono is merely a style of clothing, but the process and final product are considered an artwork to the Japanese.

"In Japanese culture, these textiles are art in the same way that we look at a Rembrandt or a Picasso," Sparks said. "Some of these kimono take an entire year to produce, with the artist working 12-hour days and not doing anything else."

Each kimono style was specific to the weaver's personality; the season and color was also used to express an individual's place in society. An example of this is the 12-layered robes, elaborate and colorful kimonos reserved for wealthy and royalty.

The exhibit opened on its doors to CSU students and faculty on Oct. 27 and remains through Dec. 16.

"When we become 20 years old, as a celebration of 20, a lot of people wear the Hakama Style – sometimes we've got the purple, pink in it," said Yukar Abe, a visiting Japanese volunteer who modeled for the fashion show on the exhibit's opening night. "I'm not used to it, the kimono will be tight."

The exhibit at the Curfman Gallery contains an array of styles and colors of kimonos sure to dazzle observers with the elegance of this culture.

"It's color, it's elegance, it's tradition, it's a celebratory event celebrating color and fabric," said Sue Ellen Charlton, director of the Asian Studies Advisory Board.

 

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