樹 Trees  1983  pigment on paper  207.0×180.0cm ©Rieko Hidaka

To commemorate the release of the catalog Rieko Hidaka 1979-2017 from NOHARA, Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition, Seeing. A related exhibition will also be held concurrently at Morioka Shoten.

For over 30 years throughout her practice, Rieko Hidaka has continued to gaze up at the trees –observing, sensing, and capturing the unfathomable space that exists between the trees, the sky, and herself to give rise to unique painterly spaces.

Hidaka has presented numerous solo exhibitions both in Japan and overseas, with Rieko Hidaka: Sky, Trees, and In Between held at Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum in 2017 gaining much acclaim, along with the catalog Rieko Hidaka 1979-2017 published in correspondence to the exhibition.

【About Hidaka’s Work】
As Hidaka herself states, “For me, art making is synonymous with looking” (Rieko Hidaka: Seeing, exhibition catalog, 2011), ‘seeing’ and how ‘the more one looks, the more unfathomable things become’ are aspects that are above all important in the production of her works. When working outdoors she raises her head so that her face becomes almost parallel to the sky, thereafter which she continuously shifts her perspective as she proceeds to transcribe her observations in the form of meticulously detailed pencil drawings. Such compositions are then scaled-up to create delicate and highly tonal monochromatic works by establishing layers of mineral pigment on the canvas.

Hidaka’s works depict trees from a vantage point of gazing up from underneath, and when presented on the walls of the gallery, enable us viewers to experience the surreal sensation of looking at a scene that ordinarily extends above our heads, from a horizontal perspective. Furthermore, in addition to recognizing the powerful presence of the myriad of branches, leaves, bark, and flower buds in the work, we gain a sense as if being embraced by the trees themselves, sensing our perspective to expand spatially and temporally in tow with the branches that reach far out into the sky.

Yasuo Kobayashi, philosopher and Professor of Aoyama Gakuin University, remarks as follows regarding Hidaka’s works.
“That those entwined branches I now understand are the ‘hands’ of the space that holds her in its embrace. For her, a tree is a place spawning countless hands of the space embracing her. A place where hands grow in space. Which is why Rieko Hidaka’s paintings must necessarily be large canvases, becoming the actual spaces that embrace […] So when viewing the works of Rieko Hidaka, difficult though it is, we must resist the urge to view the tree branches as the ‘object.’ We must perceive an expanse of space devoid of an object, a space enveloped and enveloping, touched and touching: unlike the kind of gaze that assumes an object. Generally, this can only mean looking at a space as if touching it.”
(Yasuo Kobayashi, “Under the magnolia tree (Like touching an impossible distance),” Rieko Hidaka 1979-2017, published by NOHARA, 2017)

【About the Exhibition】
The concurrent exhibitions introduce paintings, drawings, and prints selected by Hidaka herself from among the 100 works featured in her catalog, which are presented accordingly in the respective venues. At Tomio Koyama Gallery we present some of Hidaka’s early works from the first half of the 1980s in addition to her 2017 “Distance from the Sky” series, while the presentation at Morioka Shoten showcases her print series “From the Space of Trees” and Rieko Hidaka 1979-2017. Related events are also scheduled during the exhibition period, with a talk by Yasuo Kobayashi (philosopher, Professor of Aoyama Gakuin University) at Tomio Koyama Gallery, and a talk by Minoru Suyama (Editor, Founder of Écrit) at Morioka Shoten.

For over 30 years since her university degree show project “Trees” (main visual of this press release, 1983) that became the essential origin of her current works, Hidaka has continued to work with the same subjects and materials. Nevertheless, her attitude and manner in which she approaches and engages with trees and the sky is constantly changing, giving rise to further anticipation and developments in her practice.

For press inquiries, please contact:
press@tomiokoyamagallery.com (Makiko Okado)

Artist Profile

Rieko Hidaka

Rieko Hidaka was born in 1958 in Tokyo. In 1983, she graduated from the Department of Japanese Painting College of Art and Design (BFA) and completed the Graduate School of Art and Design (MFA) in 1985 both at Musashino Art University.
For one year from 1995, she studied in Germany under Japanese Government Oversea Study Program for Artists by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan.

Her major solo exhibitions include “Recent Works 22” (The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan,1998), “The Space of Trees” (Art Kite Museum, Detmold, Germany, 2003) and “Sky, Trees and In Between” (Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Japan, 2017). Her major group exhibitions include “Chikaku: Time and Memory in Japan” (Kunsthaus Graz & Camera Austria, Graz [traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Vigo, Spain / Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan]) and “Rising Sun, Melting Moon -Contemporary Art in Japan” (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2005-2006) and “Kami. Silence -Action” (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany, 2009-2010).

  • Installation view from “Rieko Hidaka: Sky, Trees and In Between” Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Japan ©Rieko Hidaka
  • 空との距離XIV 2017 pigment on paper 240.0 x 240.0 cm ©Rieko Hidaka
  • 空との距離XV 2017 pigment on paper 170.0 x 170.0 cm ©Rieko Hidaka