- Soga Shōhaku: The Peculiar and the Beautiful
- May 12, 2015 - June 7, 2015
Soga Shōhaku (1730-81) was born to a merchant family in Kyoto. Orphaned and with no family at an early age, Shōhaku became a painter by his late 20s, traveling around in Ise and Harima provinces and producing paintings. Late in life he finally settled down in Kyoto, and established close relationships with Confucian scholars and Zen monks there.
Among Shohaku's stylistically diverse works, ranging from elaborately detailed and colorful paintings to monochromatic ink paintings executed with wild abandon, the consistent trait is his peerless command of realistic depiction. His work is notable for its intense focus on technique, including using stencils at times. Some of his paintings have a spooky appearance, but without being merely ghastly, drawing viewers in irresistibly with their otherworldly beauty.