Copper kimonos and fine-art prints from two artists will highlight different aspects of Japan

A casual look at its programming this year could give the impression that the Chehalem Cultural Center is turning Japanese. One might really think so.

From the Asian/Pacific Rim-themed Camellia Festival that blossomed at the cultural center in April to origami classes, sake tastings, traditional tea ceremonies and an art camp for children exploring Japanese culture, the CCC has embraced the Land of the Rising Sun this year like it never has before. That celebration is set to culminate next month with the center’s Night of the Moon fundraising SUBMITTED - Old traditions, modern art - Yuji Hiratsuka, an Oregon State University fine arts professor teaching printmaking and drawing, combines the forms of intaglio, relief and chine collé to create his distinctive and often whimsical images.

“The board likes to choose a different country they focus on each year cultural-wise, and this year it’s Japan,” CCC Arts Coordinator Aimée Reed said.

The tradition is based on the fact that the moon is a central fixture in every culture around the world, regardless of language or country of origin. While the much-anticipated Night of the Moon has already sold out, Reed said, a new exhibit and featured lecture coinciding with the event will also highlight Japan.

The exhibit, set to open Aug. 30 and run through Sept. 21, will feature two artists: Catherine Foster, an American-born metalworker who crafts copper sculptures of kimonos, and Yuji Hiratsuka, a Japanese printmaker who creates modern images using the traditional Ukiyo-e visual style.

For Night of the Moon, the center will exhibit works from Foster’s kimono series entitled the “Peace Prevails Project,” which features embossed copper designs and new artworks painting on metal with 100 plus layers of paints and resins. The project includes artwork embossed with the words “peace” and “peace prevails” in more than 300 different languages as symbols of peace in the world.

In a statement from the artist, Foster — who has artwork in galleries and collections in the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, Italy, England, France, Germany, Australia, Russia and Israel — described the creative process as a “special time” that “marks both reality and total immersion.”

“The end product becomes a physical manifestation of this creative process that has the ability to stir something deep within us with its mysterious beauty,” she said. “I am absorbed and fascinated with how our lives, the earth, history, relationships are woven together creating a collective fabric of life.”

According to an artist’s statement, Hiratsuka’s technique combines the forms of intaglio, relief and chine collé to create images that “express the mismatched unification and hodgepodge which can be seen in daily life.” His images bear resemblance to traditional Japanese prints while also expressing contemporary aspects of the Western world, and are meant to highlight the whimsical and spontaneous aspects of human nature.

Hiratsuka, who is currently an Oregon State University fine arts professor teaching printmaking and drawing, has also had his work exhibited across the globe, including in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Some of the venues his graphic work has been featured in include The British Museum in the U.K., the Tokyo Central Museum in Japan, the Panstwowe Museum in Poland, The House of Humor and Satire in Bulgaria, the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio, the Jundt Art Museum in Washington and the Portland Art Museum.

The lecture, set for 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 6 to coincide with the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Newberg, will feature Joyce Lee-Westdal, who will speak on the topic of the traditional Japanese garment, the kimono. She will discuss the variety of the garments, who wears them and when, the symbolism and discipline of wearing the kimono and more. After the workshop, genuine kimonos from Lee-Westdal’s collection will be for sale.

For more information, visit or call 503-487-6883.

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