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Art Exhibitions

Kenji Ide: A Poem of Perception

In Kenji Ide’s installation, A Poem of Perception, the Kanagawa-based artist has created a constellation of found objects and small-scale sculptures that encourage viewers to heighten their sensitivity to their own experience of time, place, and imagination. Created specifically for the Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery, Ide’s art engages in a spiritual dialogue with the context of its surroundings. His work mirrors a Japanese garden’s elemental foundation of natural materials shaped by human hands and reflects its aesthetic ideals, expressed through the careful arrangement of objects and empty space. This deep consideration of space echoes Garden of Resonance: The Art of Jun Kaneko, an art exhibition simultaneously on display at Portland Japanese Garden. 

Ide’s sculptures of carved wood, paper, and concrete, combined with found postcards and ephemera such as stones and fallen foliage, can be thought of as a kind of material poetry—each element’s form creates the shape of the poem, their placement in space creating its rhythm. For this exhibition, Ide has labored to remove the focus of his work on sculptures as individual entities, instead reconceptualizing each piece within a holistic installation. 

Ide is interested in the passage of time, both for the weight it carries in our everyday lives, but also for its connection to the experience of a Japanese garden. Drawing inspiration from his belief in the beauty of everyday life—the materials in Ide’s work are familiar and commonplace, creating an accessible visual language that is quietly powerful in its emotional familiarity. For example, Ide views the postcards incorporated into his installation as antiquated sculptures of communication. Unlike today’s digital messages, postcards have their own unique shape, weight, and color. They possess a physicality that people can project their own emotions or experiences onto. As physical objects that must travel through time and space to reach their recipients, postcards foster contemplative dialogue across distances.

Photo by Kenji Ide.

In Ide’s work, and in a Japanese garden, things are best experienced when one takes their time to open their hearts and minds to be moved by the smallest details. 

Curator: Matt Jay (1987-2022)

Matt Jay at the Golden Crane reception for the opening of Garden of Resonance: The Art of Jun Kaneko. Photo by Nina Johnson.

Matt Jay was the Founder and Director of End of Summer, a cross-cultural art program dedicated to exploring and supporting contemporary art from Japan. End of Summer regularly organizes satellite exhibitions and symposiums in the U.S. and Japan with its programming centering around an annual artist residency and lecture series in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, Jay was the co-founder of THAT YEAR, an interdisciplinary creative studio, which forges connections between Asia and the U.S. through art and design. 


Tanabe Gallery

Among the many new experiences that await visitors inside the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center is the beautifully designed Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery.