The new exhibition Hidden Landscapes: Yasuaki Onishi will be presented in the Main Gallery at the Coconino Center for the Arts. It will feature site-specific installation art by Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi, created for the space at the Coconino Center for the Arts.
Hidden Landscapes will be open September 17 through October 27, 2018, and opens with a members preview and artist talk on Saturday, September 15, followed by a public reception on Saturday, September 22.
Installation art by Yasuaki Onishi explores the perception of extraordinary space through the use of ordinary materials such as glue, cardboard, and plastic. A native of Osaka, Japan, Yasuaki has a Bachelor’s degree in sculpture from the University of Tsukuba and a Master’s degree in sculpture from the Kyoto City University of Arts. He has become a well-known contemporary artist throughout Japan, and has exhibited in Dubai, China, France, Israel, Kazakhstan, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Italy, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and the United States. Onishi has been a recipient of a United States-Japan Foundation Fellowship that serves as an artist cooperative and residency between the two nations, and continues to receive international research grants and art prizes for his work.
Onishi looks at space as his medium, creating monumental works that are uniquely designed for the intricacies of a specific location. He is interested in the invisible– time, air, gravity, or other phenomenons of space – which drive the way each installation comes together. The resulting sculptures are landscapes that continuously change as dynamic monuments. In this way, Onishi creates a physical manifestation of the unknown, invisible, and otherwise unseen.
This approach to installation space has been developing in modern and contemporary media since the 1960s. Renowned Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi pioneered the concept that “if sculpture is the rock, it is also the space between rocks and between the rock and a man, and the communication and contemplation between.” Onishi’s international work furthers this legacy by continuously evolving and pushing the boundaries of site-specific space.
Emily Lawhead will serve as curator for Hidden Landscapes. Lawhead has been collaborating with Yasuaki Onishi for the past two years, instigated by the receipt of Northern Arizona University’s prestigious Hooper Undergraduate Research Award in 2015. This award allowed Lawhead to conduct studio visits in Japan in 2016, where she met Onishi and other contemporary installation artists in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
Onishi has been very interested in continuing cultural exchange in the United States and is particularly excited about working in Northern Arizona. The artist will stay in Flagstaff for two weeks prior to the exhibition to create two monumental works of art in the Main Gallery at the Coconino Center for the Arts – a “Reverse of Volume” and a “Vertical Volume” installation.
 Isamu Noguchi, “Meaning in Modern Sculpture,” Art News 48 (March 1949), p. 55