A Japanese artist paints an English Country Garden

Hiroko Imada - Riverside StudiosI meant to go to the private view of Hiroko Imada’s exhibition at the Riverside Gallery, Works on Nature, Dance & Movement, but a combination of cold, dark rainy night and power failure on the Piccadilly Line kept me away. At last I got there this week and I was very glad I did.

I’ve written about Hiroko before – she’s a talented artist who graduated from the Slade and has been living and working in London for over 20 years. Besides being a painter and printmaker she is a dedicated ballet dancer, which is how I come to know her.

This show brings together her two great passions, nature and dance, and the paintings express the energy and life of her subjects through a vivid and powerful use of colour.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

I’ve seen some of the smaller painting in the exhibition before, but I wasn’t prepared for the strength and joie de vivre of her new, large paintings in a series entitled Shepherd’s Cottage Garden. These two paintings, in acrylic on canvas, dominated the exhibition. Their rich colour and confident brushstrokes show an artist at the top of her game. I love the way they hover at the intersection between figurative and abstract. It’s not a conventional portrayal of a cottage garden, too often approached in the chocolate box idiom, but that’s what gives it such drama and life.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

These large painting are priced at £2,500 and if you’ve got the money I suggest you head down to Hammersmith right away. But for those of us with more modest purses there are some similar smaller ones which are stunningly affordable. Like this one, 25.5 by 35.5 centimetres priced at £320. Or the similarly sized picture at the top of this post, which is the same price.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

This dramatic large lithograph and silkscreen, expressing all the vitality of dance, is called Valse Brillante and is available at £700 framed or £450 unframed.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

Hiroko often produces collections of painting which can be appreciated as a set or individually, like this set of four studies in lithograph on plywood.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

I particularly like her smallest pictures – this collection of three acrylics on canvas in her Summer Garden Series is charming and reasonably priced at £150 each.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

This set of four watercolour studies for Summer Garden are £80 each, framed. They’re 12.5 by 18 centimetres. Be warned – some are already sold.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

Hiroko also teaches Japanese Woodblock printmaking, paper making, folded screen making and hanging scroll making in museums, galleries, universities and schools in London, including a Japanese Woodblock printmaking course at the British Museum.

The exhibition continues at the Riverside Studios until the 7th April, and you can contact the artist via her Facebook page.

Hiroko Imada - Riverside Studios

6 thoughts on “A Japanese artist paints an English Country Garden

  1. What a talented friend you have! I love the energy in these paintings: it almost feels like you should experience them with more than one sense (smelling the flowers for instance) if you know what I am trying to say!

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  2. These are great pictures! Better than a lot of the contemporary art in my gallery. She’s got such a great eye for depicting nature. I would love to have Shepherd’s Cottage Garden and the four lithographs hanging on my walls in between my film posters 😉

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