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Stephen Addiss (American, born 1935), Man, 1997, ink on paper, image: 11 3/4 x 18 inches, scroll: 46 x 23 1/4 inches, collection of the artist, © Stephen Addiss, photograph by Taylor Dabney
Feb 11, 2014
throughMay 09, 2014

No Eye Flowers: Paintings, Calligraphy, and Ceramics by Stephen Addiss

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The University of Richmond Museums opens No Eye Flowers: Paintings, Calligraphy, and Ceramics by Stephen Addiss on February 11 through May 9, 2014, in the Harnett Museum of Art. Contemporary artist Stephen Addiss (American, born 1935) has been creating East Asian-style ink painting and calligraphy for more than forty years. Featured in the exhibition are more than fifty artworks, including paintings, scrolls, and wood-fired ceramics.
About the Artist

Stephen Addiss is a composer, musician, poet, painter, and Japanese art historian. Born in New York in 1935, he earned a B.A. in musicology from Harvard in 1957. Returning to New York City, he studied at Mannes College of Music and took experimental composition classes with John Cage (American, 1912-1992) at the New School of Social Research. In 1969, he began the study of ink-painting and calligraphy with Asian scholars, subsequently studying in Japan and Taiwan.  In 1971, Addiss enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Michigan where he earned an M.A. and Ph.D in East Asian art history and musicology. He taught at the University of Kansas before coming to the University of Richmond where he taught from 1992-2013 in the Department of Art and Art History as Professor of Art History and the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of Humanities: Art

About the Exhibition

Highlights of the exhibition include the calligraphy Tea (2006), this is the Sino-Japanese calligraphy character for tea which includes symbols for grass, and tree, painted on smoked paper. Addiss uses a large brush not completely full of ink, and moves the brush quickly to produce a “flying white” effect where the background paper can be seen through the brush lines, thus giving the image life and vitality. Distant Rainclouds (2009) and Slanting Sun (2010), are both haiga works, meaning “hai” for haiku and “ga” for painting.  Japanese haiku poets occasionally add illustrations to their poems. Typically these illustrations are modest and simple yet directly expressive, and they form an interaction between word and image. Light Snow (Awayuki), 2010, is a wood-fired, hand-built, earthenware tea bowl. Freely applied ash glaze on the bowl resulted in shifting areas of white, brown, and grey, much like the appearance of a light snowfall on an empty field.

Speaking about the selection process of artwork for the exhibition, Addiss states, “Choosing the works for this exhibition was a fascinating process. I wanted to represent different decades of my life, and also to show works in different media ranging from paintings and calligraphy to ceramics and one sculpted wood piece. Consulting with Audrey Yoshiko Seo, Adjunct Professor, Department of Art and Art History, University of Richmond, and Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, we came up with the combination that we hope will spark interest in viewers of different tastes and backgrounds, while maintaining a feeling of ‘spirit resonance.’”

Addiss’ work has been exhibited in a number of countries including China, England, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, as well as the United States. Additionally, he is the author of approximately thirty-five books, including How to Look at Japanese Art, The Art of Zen, The Art of Chinese Calligraphy, and 77 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy by Poets, Monks, and Scholars, 1568-1868. In the last two decades Addiss has also become an accomplished potter.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, in collaboration with Stephen Addiss, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of Humanities: Art, Emeritus, University of Richmond. The exhibition and programs are made possible by the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund. A catalogue, published by the University Museums, is available.

Past Programming

Monday, February 10, 7 to 9 p.m.
7 p.m., Concert and Lecture, Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts
Music by Stephen Addiss performed by faculty from the Department of Music, University of Richmond; Joanne Kong (clavichord), Jeremy McEntire (flute), and David Niethamer (clarinet).
Movements of the Heart: Collaborating with Stephen Addiss
Jonathan Chaves, Professor of Chinese, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
8 to 9 p.m., Opening reception and preview of the exhibition

Sunday, February 16, 2 to 3 p.m.
Museum Story Time for Children, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts
Reading from Catherine Louis and Feng Xiao Min’s book Liu and the Bird: A Journey in Chinese Calligraphy

Friday, March 21, 2 to 3 p.m.
Artist-Scholar and Curator Talk, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts
Influences: John Cage, Music, and East AsiaStephen Addiss, artist-scholar and Tucker-Boatwright Professor of Humanities: Art, Emeritus, University of Richmond, and Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, and curator of the exhibition

No Eye Flowers: Paintings, Calligraphy, and Ceramics by Stephen Addiss