Mio Akashi Hagakure – Behind the Leaves

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December 4 – December 19, 2014

Curated by Alison Bradley

Opening Reception: Thursday, December 4, 6-8PM

ISE Cultural Foundation is preased to present “Hagakure – Behind the Leaves” a solo exhibition by Mio Akashi curated by Alison Bradley at the Front Space.

Mio Akashi’s photographs evoke a deep respect of nature, serenity, order and grace. Her images of landscapes and flowers and trees profoundly resonate with her Japanese background, her commitment to the study of tea ceremony, and knowledge of Shinto religion. The artist delineates nature in a painterly fashion, a gesture that seems inextricably linked together along the lineage of Japanese Art of screen and scroll. Akashi’s mature sensibilities cast across the nature of her Connecticut wilds creating photographs that summon a history and a gesture of Kyoto or Kamakura, all the while located on a local inhabitant.Alison Bradley – Curator

To refer to the work of Mio Akashi as nature photography seems an understatement. It is far too mystical. The smoky, misty layers of atmosphere in her color photography compel you to look further as if there is more to be revealed. Many of her color photographs are so subtle and her black and white photos of trees devoid of their leaves such as Night Ash I (2012) are riveting in their simplicity.The Gunn Memorial Library Exhibition (October 4 to November 15, 2014)

“Hagakure” is a symbolic term favored by old Japanese poets. Objects of Hagakure – hiding behind the leaves – are subtle underlining elements that remain unknown until you come upon them.

Born and raised in Japan, Mio Akashi graduated from Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan with a BA in English Literature. She lived in Tokyo where she worked in publishing as an editor and translator before moving to New York City in 1986, where she studied interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduating with a BFA in Interior Design and Fine Arts in 1991.

After a career as an Interior Designer, she developed an interest in photography. She started studying at the International Center of Photography from 2000. In 2003, when Akashi began spending weekends in Litchfield County, Connecticut her interests in landscape, design and photography merged.

Akashi shares of one of her revelations: “One afternoon during the long stay at my country cottage I saw nature’s form obscured behind the veil of summer leaves. The weather battered old trees with twisted trunks, thick rambling brush and tangled branches of abundant apple orchards – I could see them as natural art forms … I had traveled over a half around the world exploring several mediums and careers. My search ended on that afternoon. I found art hiding behind the leaves in my backyard.”

Image: “Night Ash I” 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 36” x 36” © 2014 Mio Akashi. All rights reserved