Transcending Reality: The Woodcuts of Kōsaka Gajin is the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States. The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Howard and Caroline Porter Collection is the largest repository of Gajin woodcuts outside Japan.
Gajin was a student of Japanese and Western-style painting and an art educator with enthusiasm for the intuitive work of children. The artist wanted his work to “transcend reality.” He lovingly recorded the beauty of Japan’s landscape and architectural monuments in a way that is modern in its individualized expression, not unlike the era’s “action painting” in the West.
Among Gajin’s favorite subjects, explored in great variation, were Mount Fuji, temples and trees such as The Great Japanese Cedar. With minimal lines, he created bold forms that were printed on un-sized paper.
In April 1945, when Gajin’s home studio in Tokyo was destroyed, he moved to Sendai, returning to the city in 1949. Although he first took up printmaking in 1922, the woodcuts Gajin executed during his last decade of life were praised by a contemporary art critic as “works of art definitely bearing the stamp of novelty and originality.”
Featured alongside Transcending Reality is Dressed to Kill: Japanese Arms and Armor, an in-depth look at Japanese Samurai culture and arts from the 16th–19th centuries. Joint tickets allow entry to both special exhibitions.
All ticketed exhibitions are free for museum members. Non-members may purchase tickets at cincinnatiartmuseum.org/transcendingreality or at the art museum. $10 ticket for adults; $5 for children ages 6–17 and college students with ID. Other discounts available.