Hiro Ichikawa – A Place of calm

HIRO ICHIKAWA / 市川 裕径 (1959 – 2017)

A Place of Calm / 穏やかな場所

April – June 2022

Woodward Gallery

Honoring the late Japanese-American artist, Hiro Ichikawa, with the first solo exhibition at Woodward Gallery since his passing in 2017. All are welcome to experience Ichikawa’s serene land and waterscapes, where calm and beauty live in harmony with nature. Woodward Gallery presents a selection of paintings in “A Place of Calm”, by Artist Hiro Ichikawa (1959-2017), as a brief refuge during this time of international terror and its resulting global unrest. This overview of Ichikawa’s gentle, organic abstractions quenches the need for peaceful contemplation. 


Hiro Ichikawa’s oil paintings are created on birch panels, with thinly-applied paint and glazes, beautifully blending natural wood grain with the colorful composition. Dots create designs reminiscent of traditional kimono patterns, referencing his family’s business in Japan. Compositions, alive with gentle brush strokes and earth tones, emphasize a soothing, Zen-inspired appreciation of our world. Ichikawa’s timeless art does not compete with nature; instead, these abstractions come directly from it. 


Mr. Ichikawa has created his own ethereal scenes, inspired by land, the night sky, satellite images showing the Earth’s topography, human migration paths, and the spiritual functionality of human bodies. This presentation of Ichikawa’s work is awash with a variety of luminescent colors, resulting from the artist’s technique of applying clusters of tiny dots on his canvas.


Ichikawa once explained, “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. After applying colors and tones as randomly as possible, a vague feeling of illusional space appears on a surface of a painting. In order to make the sense of a space more concrete, I look for winding paths like streams of water in the scene.”

Hiro Ichikawa’s painting titles gently hint at the scene he envisions. For example: the work called, “Drift”, refers to the sensation of floating; “Timbre”, as in, music; and “Periapsis”, as in, space. The dots and designs are a perceived life-form that wind through the topography of wooden grain. Each piece is hand-framed by the Artist as a window into his mind’s eye. This body of work manifests a non-threatening, non-menacing art sanctuary. 

True to his passion, Hiro volunteered, locally, for Scenic Hudson, as a trail steward, protecting the Earth he loved so much. Every week, he offered his time by hiking and maintaining their many trails through the Hudson Highlands. Ichikawa also organized and managed a printmaking (etching) group at the Garrison Art Center, NY.


Born in Osaka, Japan, Hiro Ichikawa studied painting and drawing at Suidobata Art Academy. After moving to the United States in 1980, he graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA. Ichikawa’s art has been featured in numerous national, international, solo, and group exhibitions at both galleries and museums, alike. His paintings are now in the permanent collection of Okawa Museum of Art, located in the City of Kiryū, where Hiro lived and worked before coming to New York. 


Kiryū, Japan is known for its lovely green hills, mountains, and two rivers, which flow through the city, providing early inspiration to the Artist in his youth. Relocating to Beacon, the scenic mountain and river views in Hudson Valley, New York, region further influenced his vision to paint untroubled, peaceful work.


There are several ways to join us for Hiro Ichikawa’s “A Place of Calm” Solo Exhibition; the paintings will be available to view 24/7 in the Woodward Gallery street-level windows (in-person or by private appointment), through a digital catalog on our website, on Artsy.net, and presented in an Artsy Viewing Room.

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