FRAGILE CHERRY BLOSSOMS CONTRAST WITH JAPAN’S HARD URBAN EDGE IN “SAKURA: PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK TAYLOR”
The delicate pink “sakura,” or cherry blossom, is the beloved herald of spring in Japan. Outings to parks to stroll and picnic under blooming cherry trees and to reflect on the fleeting character of life as petals fall are especially popular with residents of the country’s heavily built-up cities.
Opening next February 9 at Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson, the exhibition “Sakura: Photography by Mark Taylor” departs from the usual idyllic portrayals of cherry blossom season. Instead, it embraces the opposition visible in the sight of nature flowering amid the dense visual grid of buildings, power lines, freeways, and signs in Japan’s urban jungle.
“I looked for the tension between the traditional and the contemporary,” says Taylor. “People have been photographed often picnicking under cherry trees. I wanted to avoid that and present the blossoms in a modern context, using the hardscape of cities as a strong graphic background.”
Although composing his color photographs in a contemporary spirit, Taylor also uses cropping and fragmentation and other techniques employed in traditional Ukiyo-e woodblock prints to offer a unique view of cherry blossom time.
In one image in the exhibition, a yellow commuter train hurtles past a house flanked by a blooming tree, an eruption of restlessness into tranquility. In another, a tree invitingly extends its canopy of flowers, but cannot be reached, standing isolated behind a hurricane fence with a sign proclaiming “Fire Cistern.”
“Sakura” opens in the Art Gallery of Yume Japanese Gardens on February 9, 2019, with a free artist reception for Taylor from 5 to 7 pm. The show runs until May 4, and all photographs in the exhibition will be sale.”
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Yume Japanese Gardens (yumegardens.org) is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, at 2130 N. Alvernon Way. It features six examples of classical Japanese landscape design, a replica traditional Japanese cottage, a museum of Japanese art and handicrafts, an art gallery, and a gift shop. It also holds seasonal Japanese festivals, tea ceremonies, and Ikebana classes. For more information about “Sakura” by Mark Taylor or the Gardens, contact Patricia Deridder at (520) 272-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.