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Friday, Oct. 14, 2005

Divine island in watercolor

"Scenes of Miyajima" is Matthew Phinn's second solo exhibition in Hiroshima this year. After completing a three-month artist-in-residency in 2003 in Akiyoshidai, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Phinn is now in his second year at the secluded Noro San Art Village near Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.

The Art Village offers residencies to four painters at any one time. Presently, there are also two Japanese realist oil painters and a nihonga artist from China.

This exhibition showcases a selection of watercolor paintings of Miyajima -- a sacred island near Hiroshima in the Seto Inland Sea that dates back to the sixth century and is famous for its many cultural assets and beautiful scenery.

Phinn's style of painting integrates elements of Japanese sumie ink painting with traditional English watercolor techniques. Unlike a conventionally Western approach to landscape painting, Japanese proportions and brushes are used, often leading the realist images toward stylization and Post-Impressionist-inspired abstraction. The exhibition shows the scenery throughout the year, including depictions of the famous floating Otorii gate of Itsukushima Shrine.

"Scenes of Miyajima" runs Oct. 20-25 at Gallery Miyazato, Miyajimacho, Saiwaicho, Higashi Omote 476, Hiroshima Prefecture (tel. [0829] 44-2608). Opening hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission is free. To get there, take a ferry from outside JR Miyajima Guchi Station.

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