Japanese art leaving gallery

This unnamed painting from Japan, created by a child, will be leaving the Leslie Powell Gallery soon. The community is invited to see them off during the exhibit’s closing reception this Saturday.

At the end of September, the Leslie Powell Gallery opened an exhibit featuring work by Japanese students that was acquired through an art exchange program in 1966, the exhibit also feature works collected by Leslie Powell himself.

But all good things must come to an end, and this Saturday, from 4-6 p.m., the gallery will be hosting a “come and go” closing reception for the exhibit.

“Due to abundance of caution in relation to COVID-19, the reception will be a walkthrough type event where guests are invited to come in a take their time viewing the art. However, there will not be any food or drinks provided,” Matthew Hughes, the gallery’s executive director said.

While Powell’s collection of Japanese art has been on rotating display in the gallery for years, this is only the second time the work from ’66 has been on exhibit. The last time it was avaliable for viewing was after the original exchange, since then the work has been in academic and private collections.

The art was part of an exchange program between Lawton students and students in Japan in 1966. After its initial exhibit, the art was donated to Cameron University where it stayed for many years. The work eventually made its way into the personal collection of former Cameron University art professor Jack Bryan, who donated it to the gallery.

“When it was at Cameron it was used for teaching purposes,” Hughes said. “Jack Bryan was the last professor to do that. They sat unused for a long time so, when he retired, he took them home.”

As part of an exchange program, Hughes wonders if work from Lawton students is currently gathering dust somewhere in Japan.

“That would be interesting to find out,” Hughes said.

The Japanese prints became a part of the Leslie Powell Foundation’s permanent collection upon Mr. Powell’s death in 1979.

All of the prints in the collection are woodblock prints, or reproductions of such prints. Almost all prints belong to the field of ukiyo-e, pictures of the floating or fleeting world. Most of the prints date from the early 20th century of Japan’s Meiji period (1868-1912) or Taisho period (1912-1926) or early Showa period (1926-1989).

Hughes encourages anyone that hasn’t had an opportunity to view the exhibit yet to come out for the closing reception. It is unknown when the gallery might exhibit the artwork again, so for some residents this may be their last opportunity to see a piece of international Lawton history.

“I’ve always like Japanese artwork myself,” Hughes said. “I want people to see that there is a lot to be admired in this.”

Admission to the reception is free. Guests will be asked to wear a face mask. For more information please call the gallery at 357-9526.

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