Hiro Ichikawa



Oil color painted directly on wooden panels. These paintings are my interpretation of traditional Japanese San-sui paintings. Literally translated, san-sui means mountain and water, but in Japanese art, San-sui represents the creation of an imaginary landscape that doesn't exist in the physical realm. The painting itself becomes a landscape with elements extracted from nature instead of rendering what you see. San-sui can be traced to the 10th century in China, but it's current simplified look came from Zen Buddhism in Japan during the 15th century.

Having lived in the Hudson Valley for many years, the influence of the strong presence of mountains and river became an integral part of my paintings. Even though my works are not straight depictions of the landscape we see around us, I try to transform the essence of nature into my pictorial space like traditional San-sui painters did. Small dots are applied by small brushes one by one to build tones and shapes. They are integrated with the wood grain of a birch panel which I use as a support.



Hiro Ichikawa grew up in the family business of a wedding kimono maker, in a small city in Japan known for its silk industry. The traditional designs and rich colors of the textiles impacted his early life. As he got older, after studying painting and drawing in Tokyo for two years, Ichikawa was drawn more to Western art and decided to come to New York to study. He graduated from Pratt Institute in 1984, and decided to stay in Brooklyn to pursue his painting career in the United States. He has shown his works in many galleries in New York City since the late 1980s, including at the Woodward Gallery in lower Manhattan. Ichikawa also began having solo shows in Japan in the 1990s. In search of better studio space, he came to Beacon in the spring of 2001. Living close to the river and mountains, his abstract works have become noticeably influenced by nature. Ichikawa also sees the connection between contemporary art and the traditional Japanese aesthetic, which has roots in his early childhood.