Articles written by Madison Folks
Articles written by
Extending the Narrative: Mike Magers and Ukiyo-e
From dives off the coast near Toba to intimate views within the ateliers of artisans, Michael Magers imbues each of his photographs with a story.
Opening Weekend for Wanderlust: Hiroshige's Journey Through the 60-odd Provinces
This month we opened our latest exhibition Wanderlust: Hiroshige’s Journey Through the 60-odd Provinces with three days of celebration. From sake flights and culinary delights paired with select provinces, to a gallery walkthrough featuring some of our favorite designs, we invited guests to immerse themselves in Hiroshige’s Japan.
A New Generation: Ichikawa Danjuro XIII
The name Ichikawa Danjuro is perhaps the most famous name on the kabuki stage, renowned for a dynamic acting style and iconic roles for more than three centuries. On October 31st, the name reached its thirteenth generation as Ichikawa Ebizo XI (né Horikoshi Takatoshi) succeeded to the name Ichikawa Danjuro XIII. He gave his first performance under his new name in the role of Musashibo Benkei in the play Kanjincho at the Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo. Though officially announced in May 2020, the succession was postponed due to Covid-19 safety measures. Danjuro XIII succeeds his father, Ichikawa Danjuro XII, who died in 2013. At the same ceremony, the actor’s son Horikoshi Kangen made his kabuki debut under the name Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.
A Brief Introduction to Ukiyo-e
While the mention of Japanese woodblock prints may call to mind lavish courtesans and dynamic actors, the roots of the medium can be traced to the 8th century. At this time, woodblock printmaking traveled east with Buddhism through China and Korea, to Japan. In 764, Empress Koken eagerly embraced this medium and commissioned the Hyakumanto Darani, or the “One Million Pagodas and Dharani Prayers.” Each wooden pagoda housed a dainty Buddhist sutra, printed as a declaration of devotion and a plea for atonement. The medium largely retained this religious association and spiritual function until the Edo period (1615-1868).
A Closer Look: Yorimasa and the Nue
From vengeful spirits to mischievous monsters, ukiyo-e teem with supernatural beings and spine-chilling tales. With Halloween upon us, we turn to one such tale–the story of Yorimasa and the nue–as told by two masters of the fearsome and fantastic, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi. The nue is a chimeral monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a badger (or tanuki), the legs of a tiger, and a hissing snake as a tail, depending on the source.
Katsukawa: Early Masters of Kabuki Portraiture
Ronin Gallery invites you to step into the theatrical world of 18th-century kabuki. Katsukawa: Early Masters of Kabuki Portraiture presents the brightest stars of the kabuki stage through the eyes of the artists of the Katsukawa School. Named for its founder, Shunsho Katsukawa, this artistic lineage redefined the field of actor prints (yakusha-e) in the late 18th century.
Spirit of the Stage: The Theatrical Prints of Kokei Tsuruya
In Spirit of the Stage: Kokei Tsuruya, we explore the career and artistic process of the woodblock print artist and modern master of actor portraiture, Kokei Tsuruya.
New Perspectives: Shin Hanga Beauties
Ronin Gallery invites you to consider modern “pictures of beautiful women” with fresh eyes. Featuring the work of renowned artists such as Goyo, Kotondo, and Shinsui, this exhibition looks beyond nostalgic appeal to explore these prints as vital reflections of their cultural context.
Iconic: Images of the Floating World
In celebration of the grand opening of our new gallery at Bryant Park Place, Ronin Gallery is pleased to present a carefully curated collection of Japanese woodblock prints in Iconic: Images of the Floating World. From Hokusai’s Great Wave to Kuniyoshi’s Skeleton Specter, this exhibition presents an unprecedented opportunity to experience some of the most influential designs of ukiyo-e together in a single exhibition.
An Artist and His City: Urban Greenspace
In this installment of the Artist and His City series we'll step outside into one of Edo's urban greenspaces through this print Moon Pine, Ueno. This aged pine earned this name not only for the "full moon" created by the circled but also for the other phases of the moon visible in its form.
A Closer Look: Courtesan Wakaume From the Tamaya
Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) was a true master of ukiyo-e. From his images of bugs to his renowned portraits of women, his works exude a subtle and elegant beauty. This Asia Week, Ronin Gallery is pleased to feature Utamaro's masterpiece, Courtesan Wakaume from the Tamaya in Edomachi 1-chome (c. 1793-1794).
Looking Back: Four Years of the Ronin|Globus Artist-in-Residence Program
Though our 2020 program was delayed, we're commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Ronin|Globus Artist-in-Residence program with a look back at four successful years and our four wonderfully talented past program winners.
What are Kuchi-e?
Brimming with wistful beauties and romantic allusions, kuchi-e, literally translated to "mouth pictures" or "opening pictures," served as frontispiece illustrations for popular novels and literary magazines from the 1890s through the 1910s. Bound or inserted within the text, these images transcended simple illustration to capture the characters, atmosphere and sentiment of each story as a whole.
Rainy days envelop the senses, from sparkling reflections in the puddles and the steady drum of rain out the window, to the crisp smell of the air just before a storm and the sensation of cool mist against skin. As spring promises brings a change in the weather, we invite you to enjoy the beauty of rain from the warmth and comfort of your home.
A Closer Look: Moon of the Lonely House
From vengeful ghosts to mythical creatures, Japanese folklore teems with spine-chilling tales of the supernatural. Yet, sometimes it's the horrors enacted by humans that prove to be the most terrifying. This Halloween, we'll take a look at one such story through Yoshitoshi's Moon of the Lonely House.
Shinrin-yoku: What is Forest Bathing?
Shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," was created in Japan in the 1980s as a meditative and restorative interaction with nature. Tuning one's senses to the quiet sounds, fresh scent, and pure air, this meditative practice invites a peace of mind and a re-centering of oneself within the larger world.