Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire through Japanese eyes: Buddhism, Christianity, and Shintoism

Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire through Japanese eyes: Buddhism, Christianity, and Shintoism

The contemporary Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, who hails from Northern Japan, once more creates a lovely art piece. Spiritually, her background is based on Shintoism and tinged with Buddhism based on the cultural legacy. Yet, in general, the Shinto faith predominates despite paying deep respect during her visit to Buddhist temples. However, aspects of Christianity also appeal to Utsumi, even if this is in the cultural realm and based on small Christian churches appearing like folk Shintoism.

Unsurprisingly, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire appealed greatly to Utsumi based on visual images of this Grade I listed building. In her mindset, the terrible events of the Dissolution (1536-1541) – or the Dissolution of the Monasteries – can be understood, to a degree, by the stunning grounds and buildings that remain of Fountains Abbey. This relates to the legacy of the spiritual effect that Fountains Abbey is still blessed with despite the terrible events of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

In other words, the secularization of modern-day Japan and the United Kingdom are creating a religious vacuum that is being entered by new “soulless cultures.” The upshot of this is that major Christian Cathedrals in the United Kingdom – just like potent Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in places like Koyasan, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, and others – are important popular windows into a past that is often far-away from everyday life. Hence, these major centers of religion in Japan and the United Kingdom are still attracting countless numbers of people; despite vast numbers of ordinary Buddhist, Christian, and Shinto holy places struggling to attract worshippers in big numbers. However, often people who visit or pray are disconnected with the real tenets of the respective faiths based on secularization and modernization.

One can only imagine the utter devastation and disconnection felt by many Christian holy people and lay people during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Likewise, in post World War Two in the land of the rising sun, it is clear that Buddhism and Shintoism were put on a back burner. This is based on the demands of America put on Japan and the collaboration of Japanese political elites. Therefore, the new mantra focused heavily on modernization and high technology fused with many precepts that apply to Confucian logic in the realm of ethics and educational attainment.

The New Statesman reports, “It is said that Japanese marry in a Shinto ritual and live life with Confucian ethics, and the deceased is buried and its soul is transformed into ancestors in a Buddhist ritual. These three events are essential factors in a person’s life and the Japanese religions are centered round these three elements, birth, living and death.”

Hence, just like Shinto focuses on ancestors, Utsumi witnesses Fountains Abbey based on a plethora of different factors. For example, the spiritual realm of Fountains Abbey survives both the Dissolution of the Monasteries and modern-day secularization. Therefore, despite Fountains Abbey being but a shadow of a once thriving Christian holy place, just like Shinto ancestors that have long perished, the spiritual psyche remains potent based on the connection of the senses.

Utsumi is utilizing the life of the river by imbuing this flowing continuity inside the remnants of what is left of Fountains Abbey. In this sense, the power of nature in Shinto is a duality of the river within the spiritual mindset when visualizing – or visiting – the delightful Fountains Abbey. In other words, despite the passages of time the spiritual dimension of Fountains Abbey remains potent – just like nature – despite the countless upheavals done by humanity.

Overall, the end result is a delightful art piece by Utsumi who is fusing many themes. This is witnessed by the equal importance of the flowing life of the river that represents the spirituality that Fountains Abbey is blessed with, despite the terrible events of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Therefore, nature and spirituality come together to create a multi-dimensional effect to this gorgeous art piece by Utsumi.

Lee Jay Walker

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/fountains-abbey-in-yorkshire-through-japanese-eyes-sawako-utsumi.html

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/art-of-japan-and-the-two-paths-of-shintoism-and-buddhism-holy-men-in-the-snow-without-abraham-sawako-utsumi.html

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/spirit-of-shinto-and-ukiyo-e-in-the-light-of-nature-sawako-utsumi.html

http://sawakoart.com

https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-faith-column/2007/06/birth-life-japanese-shinto

 

Contemporary Japanese artist and L. S. Lowry in Full Bloom by Sawako Utsumi

Contemporary Japanese artist and L. S. Lowry in Full Bloom by Sawako Utsumi 

The contemporary Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, adores a plethora of different art styles fused from her native Japan and a mixture of European artists. This notably applies to the Dutch Masters of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Impressionism, and L.S. Lowry who hails from Northern England. Therefore, she fuses and creates her art based on different thought patterns.

In her latest art piece, it is the artist L.S. Lowry who springs eternal, once more. Yet, unlike the more dark tones of the original, Utsumi creates a new vibrant approach – while in the background the industrial reminder remains. Hence, the smoke-filled chimney’s can be viewed.

Yet, the immediate impact on the eye is the new vibrant light and children playing in the joy of youth – while knowing that parents and friends are around. In other words, unlike the original that completely focuses on the Northern English industrial landscape, from the houses to the backdrop of the industrial revolution, this area is now radically altered. The upshot is a delightful atmosphere of children playing amid light colored houses.

Of course, the differences of culture, time, adopting new space, a hidden meaning, and a fresh approach hits you immediately. Also, Utsumi is focused on the number 9 that is linked to infinity and the artist does this based on the number of people in her art piece.

Overall, the new art piece fuses delightfully with the original – and, the elegant fresh approach by Utsumi. Hence, the Japanese nuance of joy amid the reality of the industrial landscape is based on the inner-self and not the natural reality of the heavy industry that befell many working-class people. Related to this were long hours, poor pay in this period, children’s health blighted by pollution, and other negativities. Instead, the joy of young children overcomes the grim reality that many faced during these difficult times in poorer areas of Northern England.

By Lee Jay Walker

http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/lowry-in-japanese-bloom-sawako-utsumi.htmlLowry in Japanese Bloom

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

 

 

Japanese Artist inspired by L.S. Lowry: Japanese context of Northern England

Japanese Artist inspired by L.S. Lowry: Japanese context of Northern England

The contemporary Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, is deeply moved by the art of L.S. Lowry (original below). Indeed, several art pieces done by Utsumi relate to playing on certain Japanese themes while focusing on the original. Therefore, in her recent art piece titled “Lowry in Japanese color, space, and time,” a more openly Japanese context is added to a greater degree.

This notably applies to space, time, and clarity that are equally visible within Japanese gardens. Equally, certain areas related to quaint angles of Buddhism in the land of the rising sun relate to the importance of space and time. Hence, Utsumi reawakens a sense of her own cultural identity within the original by Lowry that is set in industrial northern England.

All of a sudden, the industrial landscape turns into a scene that exemplifies a natural flow that isn’t constrained by limited space. In other words, the children playing now seem more liberated and at ease in the new environment that is colorful, clean, and not constrained by railings or negative aspects related to industrial northern England.

Equally, the distant industrial angle and gloomy skyline is now transferred by closeness and a sky that equates to freedom. Of course, each individual will see different things and others will see nothing. Yet, for Utsumi, this matters not one jot, providing one other soul connects to her art in a meaningful way that complements the original – while acknowledging the huge transformation based on art, different cultures, and the intentions of Utsumi.

In another article, I state, Hence, the contemporary Japanese artist Utsumi is focusing on individuality, new forces based on the color that will soon emerge, and people content in their natural surroundings. This focus works a treat because old northern England now becomes innovative once more. After all, the Industrial Revolution and modernizing forces came from the same rich history of northern England.”

The freedom related to the children playing in the art piece titled “Lowry in Japanese color, space, and time,” suddenly alters the notion of struggle and limited ambitions based on the daily grind of life. Instead, the colors of the houses relate to new freedoms and defeating the limited opportunities that generations of working-class people face in industrial cities all over the world.

Written by Lee Jay Walker

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html – Please click on to order the book.

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/lowry-in-japanese-color-space-and-time-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/japanese-whispers-in-respect-of-lowry-sawako-utsumi.html

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https://fineartamerica.com/featured/lowry-in-full-japanese-bloom-sawako-utsumi.html

http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website

High Peak Art by Japan Artist: Castleton and other Villages of the Peak District

High Peak Art by Japan Artist: Castleton and other Villages of the Peak District

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The contemporary Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, feels at home when viewing the stunning landscapes of the High Peak region in Derbyshire, England, and the dotted villages throughout the Peak District. Indeed, her latest art piece, titled High Peak Art of Castleton through Japanese Eyes, illuminates the different themes selected by Utsumi. Therefore, rather than focusing on more natural themes of Castleton, her simplistic approach on one small area of the village still brings alive the natural beauty of the High Peak.

In other words, Utsumi creates a stunning art piece that illuminates a stone house near a delightful stream. Of course, mountains surround the village of Castleton and this applies to the White Peak area in a southerly direction, and the Dark Peak to the north.

This village being written down in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 witnesses the rich historical legacy of Castleton, known then as Pechesers. Not surprisingly, remnants of past history remain vivid based on Peverel’s Castle and the adorable St Edmund’s Norman Christian Church. Similarly, the importance of caverns serving the lead mining industry come alive in modern times based on a different tune. Therefore, tourists in modern times flock to Blue John Cavern, Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, and Treak Cliff Cavern.

However, despite the more rugged landscape, Peverel’s Castle, St Edmund’s Norman Christian Church, and other realities, Utsumi elegantly focuses on the most natural of settings. In other words, a beautiful house in the central part of the village is illuminated along with the flowing stream. Of equal significance, is the Cliff that rises above the house but the intricacy means that the view is gentle and minimal. Likewise, the trees contrast greatly with the main color scheme and this equally creates a natural and warm feeling.

Other images in this article apply to a Christian Church in Bamford and the natural landscape of Grindleford. Overall, the latest art piece by Utusmi highlights the stunning reality of this contemporary Japanese artist, who fuses her love of past artists from Japan and Europe, to her own individual landscapes of the Peak District – and other themes in relation to Buddhism, Christianity, and Shintoism.

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html – Please click on to order the book.

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/high-peak-art-of-castleton-through-japanese-eyes-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/edale-church-and-beautiful-landscape-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/natural-beauty-of-grindleford-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/bamford-church-and-serenity-of-nature-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/new-mills-and-reflection-of-spring-sawako-utsumi.html

http://sawakoart.com

Japan Artist and English Landscapes: Laburnum Tree, Brailsford Church, and Shinto Themes

Japan Artist and English Landscapes: Laburnum Tree, Brailsford Church, and Shinto Themes

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The recent oil painting by Sawako Utsumi, a Japanese contemporary artist, of a laburnum tree fits eloquently with her watercolor of a Christian Church in Brailsford, Derbyshire. This is based on the connection of the color yellow and the essence of delightful yellow flowers. Therefore, the landscapes of England come alive in both stunning paintings by Utsumi.

Interestingly, yellow in the Shinto faith denotes sacredness and one can’t escape the power of this color in both paintings. Given this reality, the art piece Brailsford Church in Splendid Nature is focused on the sacred but within the Christian faith.

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The other art piece, Laburnum Tree in Splendid Isolation, highlights the natural beauty of nature. Indeed, for individuals who adore the laburnum tree, then while the original is located in northwest England, the tree itself could be in various parts of this nation. Immediately, the adorable laburnum tree in this art piece hits the individual because people who love this species will have vivid memories.

Turning back to the delightful Brailsford Christian Church in stunning Derbyshire, then Utsumi fuses the sacred with nature. Naturally, from a Shinto point of view, then nature and the sacredness are part and parcel of this world. Therefore, for the artist Utsumi – despite the landscape and religious setting being extremely different in Japan – she equally feels at home when visiting and seeing delightful Christian churches in Derbyshire.

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Overall, the art of Utsumi fuses many themes and ideas that are often hidden to the viewer based on her own upbringing. Yet, even without this angle, the art itself works astonishingly well based on the landscapes and angle of nature in both art pieces. On top of this, the color yellow creates an eloquent and gentle reality irrespective of the meaning of sacredness in Shintoism.

Lee Jay Walker

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html – Please click on to order the book.

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http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/laburnum-tree-in-splendid-isolation-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/brailsford-church-in-splendid-nature-sawako-utsumi.html

Japan Artist, Christian Church in Heptonstall and Clarity to Blurred Lines: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and Shinto

Japan Artist, Christian Church in Heptonstall and Clarity to Blurred Lines: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and Shinto

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The contemporary Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, adores the visual reality of traditional villages and towns in the Calderdale area of West Yorkshire. This noticeably applies to quaint old Christian churches that have survived modernity, the rugged landscape of the surrounding area, the canal area that runs through Hebden Bridge in both directions, and quaint houses that exist near the main Christian church in Heptonstall. Equally dramatic is the changeable weather and diversity of thought patterns that runs through Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge respectively.

Indeed, one minute you can be walking in lowland areas of Hebden Bridge, then suddenly high up with the Pennine Way in easy reach. Or, alternatively, walking uphill to the delightful village of Heptonstall. On top of this, Hardcastle Crags and the Rochdale Canal are a treat to people who cherish the outdoors.

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In the art piece by Utsumi titled Heptonstall Christian Church in West Yorkshire, the artist focuses on a more clear vision. This contrasts noticeably with the more blurred art piece titled Heptonstall in Silence.

Reasons behind this are multiple but with one noticeable concept behind this. In other words, the older art piece by Utsumi resembles the mystery of Shintoism compared with the later art piece. Therefore, the blurred dimensions of Shintoism and nature fuse within the troubled history of Heptonstall despite the continuity of Christianity in this part of West Yorkshire.

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The troubled history applies to a battle that took place in 1643 during the English Civil War. Similarly, David Hartley, alias the King of the Cragg Vale Coiners, was buried in Heptonstall after being hanged in York in 1770.

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This reality means that the blurred and intriguing painting of Heptonstall in Silence is fused with the mysteries of Shintoism – that remains outside the knowledge of most non-Japanese people. However, Heptonstall Christian Church in West Yorkshire resembles the influence of Buddhism in Japan and the familiarity of this faith internationally. Therefore, the clarity of the second art piece is based on familiarity and the right path, compared with the power of nature that burnt brightly in the soul of the poet Ted Hughes who hails from Calderdale.

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Ted Hughes wrote:

When God, disgusted with man,
Turned towards heaven.
And man, disgusted with God,
Turned towards Eve,
Things looked like falling apart.

But Crow . . Crow
Crow nailed them together,
Nailing Heaven and earth together

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Ultimately, the Crow may have been Ted Hughes himself, compared with the mammal Sylvia Plath who is buried in Heptonstall. These fusions of ideas, and intricacies, equally enter the mindset of indigenous Shintoism. Yet, this applies to different angles because the Crow was Buddhism during the Edo Period that often devoured Shintoism. This reality persists in areas of high culture and political significance despite the changing winds of the Meiji era.

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Sylvia Plath wrote:

I have no wit, I have no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
A lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is like the falling leaf;
Jesus, quicken me.

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Overall, Utsumi is not only focused on the delightful setting of Heptonstall because this contemporary Japanese artist is trying to fuse this within her native land. Yet, unlike the sinister world of humanity and nature that awaits the Crow by Ted Hughes, in the world of Shinto nature is comforting and powerful. Equally important, it connects with the soul and ancestors. Therefore, Sylvia Plath may be buried far away from her native home but in the world of Shinto, her spirit is like a kami that awaits a new beginning – or, in the Christian trinity, a mystery remains where the Crow is defeated by the Lamb.

Lee Jay Walker

http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/heptonstall-christian-church-in-west-yorkshire-by-japanese-artist-sawako-utsumi.html

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L.S. Lowry and Sawako Utsumi: Bleak Northern Reality to Light of Sendai

L.S. Lowry and Sawako Utsumi: Bleak Northern Reality to Light of Sendai

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L.S. Lowry (1887-1976) and Sawako Utsumi come from two very different cultures that have been shaped by the respective faiths of Buddhism, Christianity and Shintoism. Of course, in modern day Japan and the United Kingdom then secularism is altering the religious landscape. At the same time, new faiths in the United Kingdom representing Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism are especially impacting in major cities. Likewise, the legacy and the reality of the Industrial Revolution was especially potent for Lowry whereas for Utsumi, a contemporary artist from modern Japan, then her reality is shaped by the countryside of the Sendai region to the neon lights of Tokyo.

Lowry during his artistic informative years still wasn’t sure about the direction he was going in. However, just like the chaos of life, one day a new reality dawned on Lowry whereby he would firmly focus on what inspired him. In saying this, Lowry is much more diverse than most people appear to realize. However, clearly his legacy belongs to urban and industrial themes dotted by individual forms of people.

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Lowry says “At first I detested it, and then, after years I got pretty interested in it, then obsessed by it … One day I missed a train from Pendlebury – (a place) I had ignored for seven years — and as I left the station I saw the Acme Spinning Company’s mill … The huge black framework of rows of yellow-lit windows standing up against the sad, damp charged afternoon sky. The mill was turning out … I watched this scene — which I’d looked at many times without seeing — with rapture…”

Utsumi, coming from a very different culture and environment – and being born in the mid-1970s – brings a new light to the darkness and natural beauty of Lowry. In Utsumi’s two art pieces in this article (painting 2-4), whereby she is paying homage to the rich legacy of Lowry, Utsumi brings the light of her grandparents (now passed away but remaining strongly within her heart) and the environment she knows.

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The contrast from the originals by Lowry – to the creativity of Utsumi – creates a natural state of mind that highlights the difference in time and perspectives. In the world of Lowry you had hard working people battling against the reality of industrialization, pollution and poverty. However, for Utsumi, while acknowledging that poverty still persists in modern Japan and the United Kingdom, the neon lights of Tokyo to the comforting rural areas of the Sendai region provides hope.

Overall, the different angles shine magically because Utsumi prefers to focus on her own reality of Lowry. This applies to an inner beauty that isn’t masked by the themes and darkness of certain art pieces by Lowry. Therefore, the spark that Lowry created is extremely important to this modern Japanese artist who hails from Sendai.

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Given this reality, Utsumi is paying homage to Lowry based on different thought patterns and periods of history. The end result is extremely uplifting because the power of the originals by Lowry will always remain potent, while the lightness of Utsumi illuminates her own personal creativity while not distracting from the richness of Lowry.

Lee Jay Walker

http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, post cards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/japanese-whispers-in-respect-of-lowry-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/lowry-and-shadow-of-japan-sawako-utsumi.html