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Art Exhibitions Japan Institute

Subtle Intimacy: Here and There

After two seasonal residencies in Portland, Japan Institute’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Rui Sasaki, will exhibit her site-specific works inspired by the natural beauty of Portland Japanese Garden in an exhibition titled Subtle Intimacy: Here and There.

Photo by Jonathan Ley

Sasaki, who works primarily in glass, is known for her meticulous studies of the environment around her. Her work contemplates the stories of people and places and how encounters with plants and the weather can evoke a sense of intimacy and familiarity even in a foreign place. Sasaki aims to create immersive and multi-sensory experiences through her glass art installations that invite viewers to explore their own relationship with the natural world. 

Courtesy of Bullseye Glass Co., Photo by Hanmi Meyer

Tour the Exhibition Online

Pavilion Gallery:

Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery:

What People Are Saying

“As one approaches more closely, one might wonder whether one has stumbled into the laboratory of some mad botanist bent on the esoteric taxonomy of exotic plants. Rui Sasaki’s site-specific installation, “Subtle Intimacy: Here and There,” lends itself readily to such fanciful readings, occupying the intersection of vegetal science and the provinces of poetry and philosophy…The overall effect is dreamy, mesmerizing, and more than a little elegiac.”

“Glass artist Rui Sasaki takes into account place, history, people, plants and weather as she works in kiln-shaped glass with Bullseye Studio. She has sandwiched plants in glass to make luminescent tiles and plates that capture the ghostly image of the burned-out stems and leaves, plus the random bubbles where gases collected…The artist’s home is in Kanazawa, Japan, as gray and rainy as Portland, so expect some sympathetic shimmering from this self-confessed pluviophile (rain lover).”

Subtle Intimacy: Here and There is a new Garden experience that sparkles.”

“Rui Sasaki is described as a ‘glass virtuoso’ by The New York Times. I can see why!…We’ve shown [photos taken of the exhibition] a couple times throughout the course of the morning and every time I’m just enamored…”

  • Travis Teich, KOIN-TV

“Instead of traditional exhibition methods with works displayed on walls, viewers can traverse through Sasaki’s exhibition that brings together the flora of Japan and the Pacific Northwest in an ethereal experience that is both scientific and magical, organic and mechanical.”

Sasaki firing glass art at Bullseye Glass Co. Photo by Quincy Woo

We are honored that Subtle Intimacy: Here and There is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).