(Above: Urban Preacher II, by master printmaker Yuji Hiratsuka, is part of a new show at the White Lotus Gallery in downtown Eugene.)

By Randi Bjornstad

It’s tradition at the White Lotus Gallery in downtown Eugene to start each new year with an exhibit that showcases work from the gallery’s own collection, which includes works amassed over three decades and created by dozens of Asian as well as Northwest artists.

Despite the challenges of the past year occasioned by the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 is no exception. Highlights From the Gallery Collection is now on display through March 6.

Everything That Has A Beginning Has An End, by artist Morris Graves

The show includes work by master printmakers such as Katsunori Hamanishi, Yuji Hiratsuka, and Kozo Inoue. There also are paintings and drawings by Morris Graves, Xuesheng He and Huixin Miao, to name a few.

Hiratsuka is one of White Lotus’s many artists who have close ties in both their original countries and the United States. He was born and educated in Osaka, Japan, before emigrating to the United States in 1985, where he received graduate degrees in printmaking at New Mexico State University and Indiana University. Since 1992, he has been a faculty member at Oregon State University, teaching printmaking and drawing.

His work can be found in collections worldwide, from the British Museum to the Tokyo Central Museum to the Panstwowe Museum (Poland) to U.S. museums in Ohio, Washington, and Oregon.

Likewise, Hamanishi honed his artistic skills in his native Japan, where he grew up in Hokkaido and graduated in art in 1973 from Tokai University. He is a master of mezzotint, which originated in Amsterdam in the 17th century and is considered by many to be the most difficult among printmaking techniques.

In the late 1980s, Hamanishi was a visiting artist at the prestigious Cleveland Art Institute. His work has been shown worldwide, including in recent years at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon and several times at the White Lotus Gallery.

Through the years, Hamanishi and his wife became close friends of White Lotus Gallery owners Hue-Ping Lin and her late husband, Dick Easley, who have presented the largest collection of his work in the West as well as a number of his one-person shows.

Native Oregonian artist Morris Graves, who was born in 1910 and died in 2001 at age 90, was born in Fox Valley southeast of Salem, where he lived until his family moved to Seattle when he was just a year old. He began to draw and paint in 1929 after taking a j0b on a merchant ship and traveling to Honolulu, Yokohama, Kobe, Shanghai, and San Francisco. He soon began winning awards for his art, but much of his early work was destroyed in a fire in the mid-1930s. He was imprisoned for nearly a year after refusing to join the military during World War II but settled in Washington State and returned to his art after his release. He traveled, lived, and painted widely until the mid-1960s, when the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) invited him to participate in an art project celebrating manned space flight. He settled in California but continued to travel and show his work widely, including exhibits at the Oregon Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, and also later after it was renamed the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Graves’ work has been shown widely nationally and internationally.

The complete rundown of artists represented in the current White Lotus exhibit, includes (last names in all caps, reflecting Asian name order:

  • Morris GRAVES
  • HAMANISHI Katsunori
  • HAYASHI Waichi
  • HE Xuesheng
  • INOUE Kozo
  • KURODA Shigeki
  • LI Tie
  • MIAO Huixin
  • MORI Yoshitoshi
  • NISHIJIMA Katsuyuki
  • NOZAKI Shinjiro
  • Frank OKADA
  • SAITO Kiyoshi
  • SAITO Ryugen
  • SHEN Minyi
  • TANAKA Ryohei
  • TOMITA Fumio
  • YAYANAGI Tsuyoshi
  • YOSHIDA Toshi

Exhibition: Highlights From the Gallery Collection

When: Through March 6

Where: White Lotus Gallery, 767 Willamette St., Eugene

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Information: 541-345-3276 or wlotus.com

Window-Welfare, a mezzotint by Katsunori Hamanishi, one of many U.S. and Asian artists represented by the White Lotus Gallery in downtown Eugene.