Koichiro Kurita, a master fine art photographer, known for his elegant large format platinum/palladium and calotype prints, will exhibit his work at Waterfall Arts’ Clifford Gallery in Belfast. The exhibit, “Meditations on Thoreau” opens Friday October 7 with a reception from 5 to 8 pm.
Kurita worked as a commercial photographer in Japan until he encountered Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden. He relates that he “was moved by the writer’s absolute freedom of the spirit and ability to enjoy harmony with nature, unconstrained by society’s rules. It was so close to the Asian way of understanding nature that, deeply inspired, I quit commercial photography and retreated to the mountains to start photographing nature. Each surface in the world of nature has a connecting border to the next surface. Each connection contributes to a harmony of nature as a whole. My work is the expression of these mysterious junctures and an exploration of the connections between myself and nature.”
In 1990, Kurita received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council which allowed him to concentrate on his artistic interests, resulting in his first solo exhibition in the United States. His works are exhibited and collected internationally by major museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Princeton Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Biblioteque Nationale de Paris and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, among others.
Kurita recently embarked on Beyond Spheres, a multi-year project documenting the footsteps of Thoreau in Maine and west to the Great Lakes. During the project he plans to photograph the landscape of Thoreau’s trail employing equipment and processes existing during his lifetime: view cameras, paper negatives and calotype/talbotype printing, a process introduced in 1841 by William Fox Talbot, using iodized paper. The resulting photographs have a lush surface that captures the essence of streams, marshes, plants and woods. For this exhibit, Kurita made photographs at the Kingdom in Montville, Baxter State Park and other Maine locations.
An artist’s talk is scheduled for Thursday, October 20th, beginning at 7pm. Ed Earle, curator at the International Center for Photography in New York, will introduce Kurita and lead the conversation. Both the exhibit and talk are sponsored by individual donors, Cold Mountain Builders and Consumers Fuel in Belfast.
Also opening October 7th in the Corridor Gallery at Waterfall Arts is the Belfast Poetry Festival’s collaborative work by poet Elisabeth Benjamin and artist Anna Strickland, poet Molly McDonald and artist Maryjean Viano Crowe, and poet Ira Sadoff and artist Barbara Andrus. Strickland is an installation artist who teaches photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is most passionate about, and an expert in, antique photographic processes. Maryjean Viano Crowe uses materials in unique ways to create mixed media installations that incorporate clothing as art, large–scale photographic assemblages, light box shrines, artist books, and mixed media paintings. Barbara Andrus works with tree parts, milkweed silk, crochet-related forms, fabric over branches, book–making, felting and knitting.
The Poetry Festival Haiku Tent will be set up during the opening, where poet laureate Jacob Fricke will encourage visitors to write and post their own haiku poems.
Waterfall Arts, located at 256 High Street in Belfast, is dedicated to creating community in harmony with nature through the transformative power of the arts. For more information on exhibits, gallery hours, art classes, studio rentals and events, visit http://www.waterfallarts.org/ or call 207.338.2222.