ELLIE OMIYA

“Peace within you”

瀬戸内の海、朝5時43分 sea of setouchi, am5:43 2019 acrylic on canvas 57.5 x 93.5 cm ©Ellie Omiya

Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present “Peace within you,” a solo exhibition with Ellie Omiya. The exhibition features a selection of works including a series of new paintings that Omiya had produced during her travels in Setouchi in 2018.

【About Ellie Omiya】

Ellie Omiya was born in Osaka in 1975, and graduated from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She began to pursue an independent career after working at an advertising agency, engaging in projects across various genres as an accomplished author, stage play director, screenwriter and director for television programs and films, and also as a radio personality. From 2012 she started holding interactive solo exhibitions presenting works conveying various images and text, which are completed through viewer’s participation. Omiya has gained high acclaim for her solo exhibitions including “To Convey Emotions” (toured PARCO MUSEUM and other venues, 2012-13), “To Be Alive” (PARCO MUSEUM, 2013), and “Message from the Starry Sky” (toured MITSUBISHI ESTATE ATRIUM and other venues, 2013-2014).

Omiya’s journey as an artist began in 2012, when she was asked to produce a live drawing at the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures inside the Tokyo National Museum to celebrate Mr. Soichiro Fukutake’s receipt of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. This first ever drawing she produced, “Celebration Melody: Naoshima” (currently in the private collection of Mr. Fukutake), while unexpectedly marking the beginning of her painterly practice, had received much attention and acclaim as her debut work.

Ever since, Omiya has held numerous solo exhibitions such as “emotional journey” (Daikanyama Hillside Terrace, Tokyo) and “painting dreams” (Shibuya Hikarie 8/ CUBE, Tokyo) in 2015, followed by her first museum solo exhibition in 2016, “Sincerely Yours, Ellie Omiya”(Towada Art Center, Aomori), in which she also presented works outside the museum in the city’s local shopping arcade. In 2017, she held the solo exhibition “This is forest speaking” (Kanaz Forest of Creation, Fukui), and in 2018 participated in “Rokko Meets Art 2018” where she created and presented “Mansion of a Widow.” The work was featured in her 2019 solo exhibition “Beautiful Days” (Daikanyama Hillside Terrace / Hillside Forum, Tokyo) along with her new large-scale installation “A Certain Day’s Picnic.” She continues to rapidly develop and progress in her career as an artist, publishing her new catalogue of illustrations and texts, “Whale of Rainbow” from Bijutsu Shuppan-sha in February 2019, also in March holding “A Wonderful Forest” (TICOLAT TAMURA, Hong Kong) which marks her first solo exhibition at an overseas gallery.

【Ellie Omiya’s Paintings】

In the context of the art world that tends to place emphasis on technique and history, Omiya’s paintings can be considered as “art brut” expressions that derive from her own identity and sensitivities as an individual. Her works depict the various scenes and landscapes that had deeply inspired her through vivid colors and dramatic brush stokes, the canvases overflowing with great vibrancy in hopes to convey her emotions, while also instilling energy in its viewers. Omiya’s expressions harbor an overwhelming sense of strength and dynamism, and her eclectic and liberated imagination serves to expand the possibilities of art without being constrained by existing frameworks.

Souichiro Fukutake, Honorary Advisor of Benesse Holdings, contributed the following message to Ellie Omiya’s artist book:
“It is wonderful how rhythmical and bright it is. The painting that you painted when you were a little drunk is especially beautiful. Your paintings have great possibility.”
(Soichiro Fukutake, “Message to Ellie Omiya,” ELLIE OMIYA EMOTIONAL JOURNEY, FOIL, 2015)

Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Art Museum, speaks of Omiya’s works as follows:
“Her art generates kindness, sensitivity, and hope along with an innate understanding of the importance of meticulousness. In her world, anything at all, any mundane object―symbols, landscape, people, weather, flower and animals, furniture pieces―has a chance to be the main subject. Omiya’s art makes people happy―perhaps one of the most important functions of art in general.”
(Fumio Nanjo, “Ellie Omiya’s Art,” Message for Ellie Omiya’s solo exhibition “A Wonderful Forest,” TICOLAT TAMURA, 2019)

Omiya herself states as follows regarding her views on painting:
“To me, it was all about painting. Whenever I witnessed something magnificent, beautiful, or simply indescribable by words, the only thing that would give me the urge to express my emotions and experiences was painting.”
(Ellie Omiya, “Sometimes I find myself longing to see the sea of Setouchi,” BEYOND BY LEXUS, WINTER, Lexus International, 2019)

【About the Exhibition and New Works】

Omiya’s new works presented in the exhibition were initially produced in accordance to a request from LEXUS in 2018, asking her to create a booklet on Setouchi. Omiya had first traveled to Setouchi in 2006, when she visited the Benesse House Museum. Since being highly fascinated and moved by her solitary visit to the Isamu Noguchi Museum on her 40th birthday in 2015, she had always hoped to convey her experiences in Setouchi through painting. This project had served as an optimal opportunity for her to revisit Setouchi, and realize her lasting intention.

Omiya’s “a letter from ISAMU NOGUCHI,” comprising of two paintings, draws inspiration from the various things that she had felt through her encounter with Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture “Energy Void,” from gentle emotions, to a small sense of happiness and peace, feelings of longing, and the compassionate yet ephemeral.
“Energy Void” was a window –a window made with two hands. What I saw beyond it was a grassy field where two small wild flowers had grown side by side, close together.”

 (Ellie Omiya, “Sometimes I find myself longing to see the sea of Setouchi,” BEYOND BY LEXUS, WINTER, Lexus International, 2019)

The works “sea of setouchi, am5:43” and “sea of setouchi, pm5:32” are a reflection of the coalescing emotions Omiya experienced when she went to the Hakata Island in 2018, gazing out at the sea with a desire to paint the unforgettable scenery she saw upon her visit the year before. She waited for the sunrise in hopes to once again see the emerald green hues of the sea and sky she had previously witnessed at dawn. Nevertheless, no matter how beautiful, the colors are not the same as the ones she had seen on that particular day. While the tones may be different on each occasion, she was able to observe the moments the sea and the sky came to gradually diffuse into the same color, which was indeed sufficient for her to reminisce the hues engraved in her memory. The inn overlooking the sea almost appears like a boat, and while gaining the impression as if floating on the water’s surface, she had felt her mind harmoniously tuned and at peace by gazing at the calmness of Setouchi’s sea.

【About the Exhibition Title】

Ellie Omiya comments as follows regarding the title of the exhibition:

“ ‘Peace within you.’ Beyond the ring of Isamu Noguchi’s “Energy Void”, I had witnessed the peace that he had longed for. It was a calm, small, yet irreplaceable peace. It seemed to me like a letter from Isamu Noguchi, with his message against the atomic bomb. I remember gazing out at the sea of Setouchi from the inn I was staying at after drinking with my friend until the early hours of the morning. From the smooth flatness of the sea’s surface, I had felt a sense of peace. My friend’s face as I looked on from besides her, also seemed calm and serene. The title ‘Peace within you’ is inspired from these memories and experiences.”

From the surging energy of nature, to unforgettable impressions and discoveries, exciting experiences, the joys of living, and feelings of freedom and courage –Omiya’s works remind viewers of the many important things that we tend to forget amidst the bustling rush of everyday life. We invite viewers to venture into the world of Omiya’s creations to rediscover personal and intimate moments of happiness.

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

Ellie Omiya

For information on the artist, please see the following URL.
http://koyamaartprojects.com/en/artists/ellie-omiya/

  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view from "Peace within you" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2019 ©Ellie Omiya photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • 瀬戸内の海 夕方5時32分  sea of setouchi, pm5;32 2019 acrylic on canvas 59.0 x 94.5 cm ©Ellie Omiya
  • イサム・ノグチの手紙 5ページ目 a letter from ISAMU NOGUCHI p5 2019 acrylic on canvas 151.0 x 121.0 cm ©Ellie Omiya
  • イサム・ノグチの手紙 23ページ目 a letter from ISAMU NOGUCHI p23 2019 acrylic on canvas 150.0 x 123.0 cm ©Ellie Omiya