Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Shou/Last Light of Autumn in the Sky by Itchiku Kubota

When I found out that forty landscape kimonos by Itchiku Kubota were being exhibited at Canton Museum of Art in Ohio, I knew I had to drive there from New York and see them. Yesterday I spent hours with these masterful works, absorbing each detail in an exhibition where happily I was able to lean in and be only inches away from their surfaces. I was able to dwell on each detail of the dyeing, stitched resists and hand embroidery, take notes and absorb the incredible workmanship. I knew I was in the presence of a person of great vision.

Thirty pieces displayed in the exhibition are from Kubota's Symphony of Light. The artist envisioned creating a panoramic series of 75 kimono that would hang side-by-side and depict the changing seasons. Kubota completed 30, the autumn and winter series, before he died in 2003.

In the video that accompanied the exhibition, I learned that Kubota began these master works when he was 60. With gentle humor, he said that he must chase away the Grim Reaper and live to 100 to be able to accomplish them.

My understanding is that the artist left explicit guidelines and drawings with his sons, who are undertaking the completion of the work that their father began.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jeanne I am SO jealous! I got the book of these works and they are truly the most exquisite textiles I have ever seen. I cannot imagine how magical they are in person.