Seasons of the Mind

Exquisite hanging scrolls and gilded freestanding screens reveal a keen sensitivity to the change of seasons as witnessed by Japanese artists during past centuries. A 14th-century Zen monk painted ink on silk to capture geese pecking in reedy waters; another flock forms a chevron in the steely sky above, suggesting that imperceptible moment when the weather changes and migration commences. A painting from 1750 of bamboo covered with snow contrasts white, unpainted paper with sharp black triangles representing leaves—the scene conveys a muffled, contemplative quiet. An adjoining scroll features three herons, two with heads tucked against the winter cold, the third craning its neck, the artist's quick but precise strokes capturing the frozen concentration of a remorseless hunter. A 17th-century six-panel screen portrays a full moon rising behind crisscrossed green grass and ocher fall flowers: The silver moon has transmuted to tarnished gray, but there's a sense of the coming harvest in the gold-leaf sky.

Undercurrent

Olive Ayhens's large watercolor Electronic Labyrinth (2006) imagines Medusa-like snarls of yellow, orange, and black wiring hanging from the ceiling of a disheveled and deserted office. Other works in this show of off-kilter views include Michael Hayden's Lake Wesserunsett, a recent gouache portraying a cross-section model of a temperate forest and lake sitting atop a red table. Alison Fox's dark abstractions shot through with triangles of light and furious pastel strokes impart a mood of clandestine and mysterious industry. Frederieke Taylor, 535 W 22nd, 646-230-0992. Through Sept 9.

Autumn Ivy, Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743)
image: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Autumn Ivy, Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743)

Details

Autumn and Winter
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue Through December 3

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