Her Brush: Japanese Women Artists from the Fong-Johnstone Collection takes a nuanced approach to questions of artistic voice, gender, and agency through more than 100 works of painting, calligraphy, and ceramics from 1600s to 1900s Japan. Many of the artworks will be on view for the first time to the public.
Her Brush traces the pathways women artists forged for themselves in their pursuit of art and explores the universal human drive of artistic expression as self-realization, while navigating cultural barriers during times marked by strict gender roles and societal regulations. These social restrictions served as both impediment and impetus to women pursuing artmaking in Japan at the time.
Her Brush showcases works by renowned artists such as Kiyohara Yukinobu 清原雪信 (1643–1682), Ōtagaki Rengetsu 太田垣蓮月 (1791–1875), and Okuhara Seiko 奥原晴湖 (1837–1913), as well as relatively unknown yet equally remarkable artists like Ōishi Junkyō 大石順教 (1888–1968), Yamamoto Shōtō 山本緗桃 (1757–1831), and Katō Seikō 加藤青湖 (fl. 1800s). These works bring forward the subjects of autonomy, legacy, and a person’s ownership of their individual story.
Interactive components facilitate a personal, intimate connection between the visitor, the artwork, and the artist. Paintings, calligraphy, and ceramic works of art are presented through the lens of the exceptional individuals behind them, with biographical focuses that tell the stories of their makers interspersed throughout the galleries.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website