“Tree of Ogre’s Children”, 2015, Pencil on gesso, mounted on panel, 454.6 x 545.4cm, ©Kumazawa Mikiko, Courtesy Mizuma Art Gallery
Four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake which continues to have a significant impact on the nation of Japan and its artists. On March 11th, the anniversary of the disaster, Mizuma Art Gallery presented “Howl”, an exhibition of elaborate pencil drawings by Mikiko Kumazawa. Kumazawa’s latest works reflect on the past four years, and her own personal emotional interpretation of the event. Collectively, here is an image of human nature’s strength and weakness in the face of uncontrollable forces. Her larger than life drawings depict horrified giants making their way through a crumbling city scape and eating trees, as in “Tree of Ogre’s Children”. This piece alone took over one year to complete. In another image, a group of school children is embraced by the same tree, as nature tries to protect its kin. It would appear that Kumazawa’s final sentiment is conflicted, as she exhibits nature’s power to destroy and also to heal and preserve. “Howl” is currently on view through April 11th.