Thursday, July 21, 2011

Geisha in Ofuro

Masami Teraoka - Geisha in Ofuro, 2011
Jacquard tapestry
115 x 78 in. Edition of 8

Geisha in Ofuro, the first tapestry edition by Masami Teraoka, has been more than five years in the making.

Don Farnsworth and Teraoka working on the weave file for Geisha at Magnolia Editions

The image itself has even more history: Geisha in Ofuro (ofuro is the Japanese word for "bath") began as a watercolor on canvas from the artist’s 1988 AIDS Series, described by Sarah Atlee as “an evocative mix of beauty and terror, sensual forms startled into abrupt mortality,” in which Teraoka grappled with the burgeoning AIDS crisis.

Detail from Teraoka's Geisha in Ofuro tapestry; click to enlarge & see the weave structures!

In 2008, Teraoka reworked the image as a woodblock print edition; now his Geisha takes on an especially monumental, heroic cast as a nearly ten-foot-tall tapestry.

A Geisha tapestry proof at Catharine Clark Gallery; photo by Michael Strickland

Teraoka’s reflection on the effect of AIDS on the vast sex industry in Japan (the mizu-shobai, or “water business”) suggests that even in a world of fantasy, awareness is paramount, and a simple act of self-protection can be a measure of strength.

Detail from Teraoka's Geisha in Ofuro tapestry; click to enlarge

“A saint or angel doesn’t have to be a priest, a high-achieving person, or anyone particularly special,” Teraoka told Alison Bing in 2006, “anyone who is decent and civilized and a good person, we should be celebrating.”

A consummate painter, Teraoka mixed paint colors by hand to indicate color corrections on his tapestry proofs (just as Alex Katz did for his 2008 Ada with Sunglasses tapestry edition).

Masami Teraoka working at Magnolia Editions

For more information on Geisha in Ofuro, please see the press release on Magnolia's website:

Geisha in Ofuro press release (PDF)


tubs cedar said...

It is nice painting to use color and brush with more effort. Ofuro painting give a message a relax from the Bath. Thanks for sharing with me.

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