“New Photographs” in Nishi-Shinjuku

After the relationship success of last week’s trip to an art exhibit (“Aces, you’re so multi-dimensional!”) in Ginza, I decided to follow it up with an excursion to Nishi-Shinjuku to take in James Welling’s “New Photographs.” You already know my penchant for shiny and colorful things, so it’s not surprising I chose to see the bright primary colors-heavy artwork.

The interesting thing about the photos on display was that they were made without the use of a camera. Welling places flowers on negatives and exposes them to light, giving a gray-scale imprint of the flowers on film. Then he prints it and applies a single color or two to the image. The results are pretty amazing and quite stunning, at least to this art-viewing newbie.

You can catch his work until February 25th at the Wako Works of Art building in Nishi-Shinjuku. The easiest way to get there I found was to exit Hatsudai station from the East Exit, which gets you directly into the Opera City Building. From the building’s main entrance, it’s about a 500m walk. The receptionist should be able to help you find your way, and if not you can call the number at the TAB page.

A bonus of making that trip was that right next door at the Kenji Taki Gallery was an exhibit of some very fine paintings. Now, I have to be honest – I’m not sure if they were paintings or photos converted to look like paintings and printed as such. They were photorealistic drawings from Yutaka Koyanagi, all done at night of various places in and around Tokyo it seems. The day I went was the last day, and I didn’t see it advertised on TAB, so it was a welcome surprise. If you stood next to the paintings you could clearly see the extensive use of gradients to imitate shades and details, but when you stepped away it looked just like a photo. Lighting and water effects were great too. I’m amazed at how he was able to paint so close to the canvas, but somehow know what it would look like 5 feet away.

I didn’t take any photos out of respect for the artist, who I believe was 10 feet away from me (someone was getting their photo taken when I walked in). The exhibit that’s there now seems really fun – I didn’t see the artwork, but there was a postcard for it when I arrived that shows a painting of a desert with Ultraman characters floating or playing on a playground.

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