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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Emily Allchurch, Photographer

PORTAL INTO THE PAST - Tokyo Story
Photographer, Emily Allchurch
Tokyo Story: Lotus Garden (after Hiroshige)
In the prints of the so-called “floating world” known as Ukiyo-e, produced between the 17th and 19th centuries, beautifully illustrated local faces and scenes appear as fleeting events moving through time - existing in an ever-changing, ephemeral world.
Utagawa Hiroshige
Stylistically, Ukiyo-e employed elegant graphic outlines, unusual perspectives with unexpected cropping of imagery, vibrant colors along with open colorless fields free of modeling, and bold compositions. Considered ahead of its time, these techniques found their way into the work of post-impressionist artists, including Vincent Van Gough and Claude Monet.

Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait of Pere Tanguy, 1887, Musee Rodin
A famous artist of that time, Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), was a master at capturing the atmosphere of place. Each work, whether his “Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido” or his great landscape series entitled, “Famous Places of Edo: A Hundred Views”, illustrates the artist’s genius at depicting the daily life and events of Edo.
Photographer Emily Allchurch, inspired by the Hiroshige's "A Hundred Views", traveled through Tokyo, documenting the city, ever mindful of the earlier artist's work. She refers to his prints as intimate "windows or doorways" allowing us a glimpse into his past.

Tokyo Story: Bridge (after Hiroshige)
Ms. Allchurch's work acts as a portal into the past, where digital imagery is manipulated and where contemporary Tokyo and centuries old Edo overlay and blend. The earlier period is differentiated by contemporary cityscapes, which include a Ferris wheel, bill boards, sky scrapers, graffiti, a sign with instructions to Mt. Fuji,  and other paraphernalia (and people) of today's city.
Tokyo Story: Cherry Blossom (after Hiroshige)
The artist, referring to herself as a "privileged observer", shot more than 6,000 photographs of the city. However, Ms. Allchurch does not strictly photograph and present. Instead, she digitally collages each work together by extracting pieces from any number of the original photographs to rebuild a new holistic image. In the end, the reconstructed work, assembled rom a multitude of fragments, is a remarkable accomplishment. At the heart of it all is a bow to tradition - respected in Japan - with an appreciation for artistry and a commitment to excellence.
Tokyo Story: Shrine (after Hiroshige)
Ms. Allchurch, born in 1974, lives and work in London. She completed her MA at the Royal College of Art in 1999. Her work is included in both public and private collections. "Tokyo Stories" was exhibited, originally, at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in London. It was also exhibited at Diemar Noble Photography. Most recently, it was exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute for the Arts (MIA). MIA purchased the entire series for their permanent collection.
For more information about the artist, please visit the websites of Emily Allchurch and GBS Fine Art.
All images provided by and with thanks to both Emily Allchurch and GBS Fine Art.
Tokyo Story: Twilight Passage (after Hiroshige)


Tokyo Story: Willow Landscape (after Hiroshige)

Tokyo Story: Temple (after Hiroshige)

Tokyo Story: Bankside (after Hiroshige)


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