Museum Mondays: A Dialogue with Michiko Itatani’s Art
by Katja Grober'16, art history
I became aware of Michiko Itatani’s paintings during the summer of 2014, which I spent working in the Wright Museum’s collection. The museum was in the process of accessioning seven of Itatani's works. As part of my summer work, I was asked by James Pearson, the Wright Museum’s curator, to accession the new works.
I spent much of my summer accessioning the works into the Wright’s permanent collection, matting, and reading about Itatani’s exhibitions. Through my research, I developed my own relationship with the newly accessioned works that would lead to an exhibit in the Wright Museum, viewable Oct. 19, 2015 – April 1, 2016. However, for me, this project was about more than simply the finished product, a catalog of the Itatani collection. I put the Liberal Arts into Practice by learning about lighting the gallery, researching a living artist, about mat board, about curation, and best of all, I learned about the brilliant and inspiring artist, Michiko Itatani.
Itatani’s unusually shaped canvases, her thick paint, vibrant reds and blacks, and rolling androgynous figures are wonderful to behold. Yet it was our shared belief that there is no distinction between abstraction and representation that drove me to consider her work further. Itatani’s works are perfect examples of abstract paintings that contain representational figures. These figures help push the viewer to reconsider the abstract backgrounds that conceptualize intangible topics relating to quantum mechanics and how the concept of individualism may (or may not) exist in an expanding universe.