Late spring mist (1)
This lush, poetic print reiterates the traditional Japanese sensitivity to the nuances of seasonal changes. Japanese poetry is rich in evocations of spring mist and rain-appreciated for their intrinsic beauty as much as for their associations with the ephemeral and transient. In depicting the scene from her studio early in the morning after working all night, Hirai has captured the poignant sense of intimacy and loneliness that a veil of mist can evoke. The subtle colours reflect a native sensibility towards neutrals and greys - an aesthetic reflected in various poems and essays, and maintained even today in the preference for the stone and metallic facings on modem buildings. Also traditional to Japanese aesthetics is the quality of suggestiveness - here captured beautifully where the mood is intensified and enriched by its very ambiguity and mystery. By deliberately responding to the theme of the urban bonsai by not depicting the bonsai, but only the urban atmosphere in which such a thing might grow, Hirai unconsciously continues a deeply rooted and ancient Japanese aesthetic of ambiguous implication, that in literature is best expressed in 'haiku'.
Hirai has obtained the moist atmospheric effect through applying many layers of colour. In 1991 she won a major prize at the Japan Print Association's annual exhibition for a similar work to this.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 32-33.
Banshun kasumi (ichi)
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
116.0 x 72.0 cm image; 120.0 x 77.5 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., in Japanese, pencil "Hirai Motoko '91".
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Unknown, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 32, 33, 41 (colour illus.). cat.no. 17