Weekend treat – The Great Nature of Chiura Obata

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The Great Nature of Chiura Obata – load time might be a bit long, but if you have the time and inclination to recharge your perceptual and spiritual batteries take a look at Obata’s 1927 paintings of the High Sierra in Yosemite.  As the enter page suggests, turn your volume on, not loud but on.  Be sure, also, to look at the paintings full screen.

I had the good fortune to see this work in a museum setting and it blew me away. The catalog Obata’s Yosemite is a good reminder, it’s beautifully done, it includes letters and background but it can’t capture the impact of the originals.

Obata was born in 1885 in Sendai, Japan and lived until his death in 1975 mostly in California where he was on the Art Faculty at UC Berkeley.  His son, Gyo Obata, is one of the founders of the architectural firm HOK.  During WWII Chiura Obata’s family was interred in a camp for Japanese-Americans in Topaz, Utah.  Obata’s sumi paintings, watercolors, and writings from that period are collected in Topaz Moon,  an eloquent example of grace, as well as grit, under incredible hardship.  A retrospective of Obata’s work was held in San Francisco in 2000, Great Nature: The Transcendent Landscapes of Chiura Obata.

From a reader in California, on the Obata Studio in Berkeley and the Berkeley Historical Plaque Project.  Thanks, Jim!

And here’s a Summer 2013 article on Obata in National Parks magazine.  Thanks, Esley!

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