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Moira Hahn’s Watercolors Offer Ancient, Anthropomorphic Animals

In 2016, the watercolors of Moira Hahn recall the woodblock prints of Japan’s Edo period, which ended nearly 150 years ago. Even with endearing, anthropomorphic animals in the place of human warriors or villagers, there’s a refined quality to the work that feels centuries-formed. And hidden within these pieces, you’ll often find charming, humorous narratives and modern-day commentary.

In 2016, the watercolors of Moira Hahn recall the woodblock prints of Japan’s Edo period, which ended nearly 150 years ago. Even with endearing, anthropomorphic animals in the place of human warriors or villagers, there’s a refined quality to the work that feels centuries-formed. And hidden within these pieces, you’ll often find charming, humorous narratives and modern-day commentary. (That last part is evidenced in a piece below that even integrates the Donald, subtitled “Wind Demon.”)

Hahn has exhibited across the world for two decades. Influenced by the Japanese genre ukiyo-e, she also cites Tibetan Thanka paintings, John James Audubon, and Persian miniatures as inspirations for her work. (And for several years, she studied Japanese art in Japan and Hawaii.) Through May 15, her latest solo show, titled “Night of 1000 Fire Monkeys,” is shown at Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles. Works in the show run the course of her career.

Part of the humor found in Hahn is the juxtaposition between that familiar Japanese imagery and contemporary embellishments, like a Monopoly board or iPhone. As stunning as her works feel in whole, these are the details that compel you to take a closer look at each corner of Hahn’s elegant scenes.

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