The unique voice of Makoto Fujimura arises from his posture as a border-stalker: he crosses cultural divisions to bring us integrating and restoring works of vision. He crosses the boundaries between American abstraction and the ancient traditions of Japan, resulting in beautiful bursts of new insight. He also connects the curious, fluid ecosystem of contemporary art with the rich spiritual and intellectual wisdom of the Reformed tradition. In drawing wholeness from what many consider oppositions, Fujimura’s paintings offer us hospitable, fresh eyes to encounter God’s gifts of reconciliation.
The exhibition brings together 13 paintings, each made using Fujimura’s distinctive integration of gestural abstraction and traditional Japanese Nihonga processes. The fragility and mineral beauty of Nihonga rewards close, contemplative looking. The pulverized minerals of Nihonga (gold, silver, platinum, oyster shell, azurite, malachite, vermilion, cinnabar) refract light in ways not captured by photography. Fujimura notes that “if the viewers slow down to gaze upon them, their eyes will find healing and hope in the refracted light. My paintings are created to, in a literal sense, refract the Rainbows for the fallen world (quoting Calvin Seerveld).”
This exhibition draws work from two distinct series. With the Door paintings, an actual door serves as the support for each visual meditation on Jesus’ statement, “I am the door” (John 10). With their physical scale, related to our own bodies, the paintings become portals into the depths of Jesus’ identity. The exhibition also includes liturgical panels from the All Saints Princeton project, including Psalm 139: Even the Darkness is not Dark to Thee, a diptych stretching an immersive 12 feet across.
This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to encounter the work of an artist whose writing, such as Art + Faith: A Theology of Making and Culture Care, is offering new pathways for our fractured culture to collaborate with God in making all things new.