Sachiko Furui

New Paintings   March 29-April 23, 1988

Unlike her contemporaries in this gpost-modernh era, Saclike Furui is not anxious to dredge the entire history of art in order to create new styles. For her, art is very much an extension of the Self, and it is a matter of daily life. Just like the ancients who tirelessly laid out their first houses and city plans on the walls and everything around her, in order to establish her own world on earth.

In a distinctly Oriental manner, this gworldh is created from Nature and with Nature. Furuifs work captures the delicate beauty of rain and wind, blossoming flower and changing seasons. gI wish my paintings would be blown around by the wind and soaked by the rain.h She muses, looking at her watery acrylic paintings on fabric draped on tree branches. At a deeper level, her work also speaks of the memorable moments of life : inhaling fragrance, smiling at something comical, giving birth, growing up and dying c.  Very gently and convincingly, the artist draws a parallel between the fragility and strength of human life with the fleeting beauty and enduring power of Nature.

With great humility, she also insists that she is only a vehicle of something more powerful : gColor is going to do something beyond my will. I listen for the voice of the color and try to express its will. I first drop a color on the pure white cloth. In a moment, the pigment on the cloth gets off my control and is carried away by a mysterious emotion. I keep watching what is happening, then I go on with it. This is the way of my painting.h

Definitely, color is Saclike Furuifs language of expression. From the ethereal color-field pieces, to the strongly wiped and brushed works on paper, the artist indulges us with existential delight. With much confidence and joy, she creates art which celebrates the mystery of natural phenomena and the mystery of human emotions.

( Hingman Chan / critics)

By Elizabeth Ross White

Sachiko Furui's love of Boston extends as far as the eye can see. Ever since she settled in the area, she has cherished its expansive blue sky.

Ms. Furui grew up in the large industrial city of Osaka, Japan, where the skies tend to be gray. Living in smaller, historic Boston was a welcome change for the artist who recalls that her first artistic impulse here was to portray the city's vibrant and welcoming sky.

Over the past 17 years that she has lived in the United States, Furui has built a reputation as an accomplished contemporary artist with a uniquely Japanese perspective. With a simple, abstract style and liberal use of color, Furui creates images that speak to the imagination and to the human experience.

Furui's newest exhibition at the Stebbins Gallery on Church Street in Cambridge includes a collection of woodcut prints and abstract paintings. The exhibition will also feature Furui's installation project, an imaginative display of hand-painted cotton kimono fabric.

A highlight of the exhibition will include the artist's ongoing "100 Views of America" project, a collection of woodcut prints of different scenes around the country. The idea of doing landscapes of America is similar to the what artist Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858) did in Japan during the Edo period.

Early work

Furui's first woodcut print in the series was of the Old North Church in Boston. Since then, she has completed approximately 30 scenes in New England, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. Future projects include plans to complete areas of Florida and California as well as cityscapes of New York, including one before and one after the September 11 terrorist attack.

Before coming to the US in 1985, Furui enjoyed a 10-year art career in Osaka. Besides her art shows in the United States and Japan, Furui's work has appeared in art shows in France and Korea.

The Osaka native took art lessons as a child, and by the sixth grade she decided to become an artist. "After that I regretted it because artists don't make much money," she says with a laugh. So, following the footsteps of her father, she pursued accounting for a while. But she later changed her plans, realizing that art was her true calling. Today, in addition to her art work, Furui gives private Japanese lessons to students in the Boston area.

Before coming to the US, Furui spent a year studying in Paris where she had an art studio. A few years before, in 1981, Furui won the second prize at the Final International Fine Arts Exhibition held at the Paris Municipal Art Museum and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum. "Paris is my favorite city and I have a huge abstract art piece named 'Paris in Love'," she says.

In the fall of 1985, Furui decided to come to the United States. The artist has been greatly influenced by her favorite 1950s-era contemporary American artist, Helen Frankensarah of New York. "She was very much a hit, and she became famous in her abstract painting which I like very much," says Furui.

100 Views of America

Furui takes great care in her work. Each woodcut printing for her "100 Views of America" series has a special anecdote behind it. The print of Portsmouth, N.H., shows an abstract scene of boats with a bright moon overhead. "The boats look like they are talking to each other," she says. "During the daytime, the boats are busy. But at this time, at night, they relax and hover together. They can talk to each other. They each have their own story," she says.

While not a religious person, Furui considers herself somewhat of a follower of the Japanese Shinto religion. "In Shinto, everything has a god. That means that we have to respect everything in this world," she says. Like the boats in her woodcutprint, she feels a respect for inanimate things and the stories they tell. "We're here to take good care of everything," she says.

In showing a print of Little Italy in Cleveland, Furui recalls how the city scene of cars, buildings, and a bright pink sky came into being. "I started drawing outside this bakery and it started to rain," she says. "I wasn't going to buy any bread but I asked if I could draw inside the bakery and I was allowed in. Soon, it stopped raining and the sky became very pink after the rain. With the smell of baking bread from the bakery and the pink sky outside, I remember it as a beautiful time of day," she says.

A trip to the Amish country in Pennsylvania inspired a scene of farmland and houses in the countryside. "I saw those people with their children in horse-drawn carriages. And next to them, we were in a car. It's very different. And since that's the way they live, I couldn't take a picture of them," she says. As it felt disrespectful to take an up-close photo of the family in a horse-drawn carriage, Furui opted for the overview scene of vast farmlands, country roads, and houses.

In addition her artwork Furui also enjoys music. In her spare time she enjoys playing the Japanese koto, a rectangular-shaped, harp-like instrument. The artist is also working with Japanese friend and composer Tsunenori Abe, a Berklee College of Music student, who will eventually create a different musical selection for each one of Furui's "100 Views of America" woodcutprints.