“Starry Night Encounter” is my personal translation of the Japanese term “ichi-go ichi-e.” It is an idea found in Zen Buddhism and in the concept of the transitory nature of things. The term is particularly adopted in the Japanese tea ceremony: a 7’x7’ space, a guest, a simple serving of a cup of tea. One should delight in each encounter as if it were a “once-in-a-lifetime” occurrence. Treat every meeting as if it is the first and the last because it may not come again, or the same meeting repeats infinite times. In my recent work, I am going back to this very basic feeling in a personal way. Using a fictional and symbolic space, I condense experienced and imagined multi-layered encountering events. I appreciate every encounter with a person, a creature, a tree, a flower, a rock, a room, a book, a song, a painting or a life. - (Excerpt from Artist Statement) Michiko Itatani
Linda Warren Projects is honored to launch the 2016 fall season with “Starry Night Encounter,” a solo exhibition by one of Chicago’s most prolific and esteemed painters, Michiko Itatani. Presented in both Gallery X and Gallery Y is a wide selection of new work, chosen from several epic series or “chapters”– Cosmic Wanderlust, HyperBaroque, Cosmic Theatre, Personal Codes, to name a few – which the artist fluidly intertwines and navigates between. From the macro of the cosmos to the micro of our shared existence, from her monumental to her miniature paintings, Itatani’s profound creative power continually awe-inspires and persuades new meaning. For over 40 years, Itatani has been “writing” a poetic transcendental fiction novel with paint. As the ongoing narrative continues to unfold, her emblematic imaginative paintings deliberately suggest that hope and curiosity are vital to the human spirit. It is a broad, and at times, cryptic tale, yet her philosophical faith in humanity proves ever-more powerful. Whether it is in libraries, the theater, in nature, or a cosmic tête-à-tête, Itatani thrusts the viewer into wondrous locations where knowledge, science, and inquisitiveness intersect.
Itatani’s paintings are the places where we confront, discover, and imagine ourselves. Where learning, books, music, and literature connect us to our essence. Where our communal soul, one that is truly rooted in the wonders of the macrocosm, drives us to question our place within it. Itatani is a powerhouse, she is the spacecraft landing, she is the library, the author,the narrator. She paints our consciousness and illustrates our vulnerability. Each painting invites us to visualize and ponder. Her mission is at once vast and simple – explore, inquire, appreciate, reach out, and recognize our accomplishments, and all the unknown and known beauty of the universe. The selected works illuminates the beauty of such temporal “encounters.” This remarkable exhibition will be the first segment of an ongoing exhibition and partnership with ZHOU B Art Center. The second segment titled Hi-Point Contact will be on view at ZHOU B Art Center (October 17,2016 – December 30, 2016) and will feature paintings spanning 40 years of Itatani’s career. Accompanying both exhibitions will be individual catalogs, featuring essays by Jason Foumberg.
Michiko Itatani was born in Kobe, Japan, and received her MFA in 1976 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently a Professor. Itatani has shown widely around the globe, and her work can be found in such prestigious collections as the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona, Spain; and Tokoha Museum, Shizuoka, Japan. Itatani has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Union League Club of Chicago’s “Distinguished Artists” Membership Award, and a National Endowment for Art, Artist’s Fellowship amongst many others. Itatani is represented by Linda Warren Projects, and this marks her second solo exhibition with the gallery.