Colorful Monsters and Fairytales Featured in Hunterdon Art Museum Exhibition

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Heather Ujiie’s art abounds with colorful mythical creatures and monsters spinning allegorical stories and fairytales.

Ujiie’s large-scale digital prints present a unique blending of the classical and contemporary. Her solo exhibition, titled Heather Ujiie: Fairytales, Monsters and Hybrid Creatures, runs from Sept. 25 until Jan. 8, 2017. The show’s opening reception will be celebrated on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 2 to 4 p.m., and will feature an artist’s talk that everyone is invited to attend.

“Many of the pieces in this exhibition were inspired from a kind of ‘data’ mashing of both western and eastern world history and religion,” Ujiie said. “This past year, I have been fascinated by the northern Renaissance Christian painting by Hieronymus Bosch’s: The Garden of Earthly Delights, as well as Persian and Indian miniature paintings, some of which depict polymorphic gods and demons.”

Ujiie’s textile work is a synthesis of several methods of artistry, including hand painting, drawing, stitching, and printing with innovative large-format digital printing.

“I love the visceral quality of paint and material investigations, but I also love technology,” she said. “Digital printing, laser cutting and smart textiles are all tools that interest me in creating more innovative work.”

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Conversely, Ujiie said she enjoys sitting in her studio painting with gouache, a heavy, opaque watercolor paint, which produces a less wet-appearing and more strongly colored picture than ordinary watercolor.

“Combining the two methods of working — scanning my hand painted pieces, and then digitally manipulating and printing them on different substrates — is very gratifying,” Ujiie said.

Ujiie’s fascination with the intersection of art and design impelled her to create a one-of-a-kind garment – or perhaps, persona – made almost entirely from paper. She said she wanted to “reference the temporality of our existence in the world, but also to make something beautiful, and almost functional, out of a non-traditional material.

“Thematically, I am also interested in mythic tales of female heroines, who represent both the male and the female in terms of empowerment, beauty and seduction. I wanted this piece to conjure up current notions of what it is to be female, and also suggest a kind of fairytale like creature in an enchanted all white forest,” Ujiie added.

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Additionally, Ujiie will lead two programs at HAM this fall. Mask Making with Heather Ujiie will run on Sunday, Oct. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. for children ages 6 and up with an adult; and Ujiie will offer a lecture and guided tour for adults on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. For more information, please visit www.hunterdonartmuseum.org.

Ujiie is an adjunct profession at the Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, where she teaches across several disciplines including textile design. Besides appearing previously at HAM, her work has been exhibited at the Racine Art Museum and the prestigious Wind Challenge Award Exhibition at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Museum. Her commercial printed textile designs have had numerous clients including The White House private residences for former President George W. and Laura Bush.

Three years ago, Ujiie’s work was featured in “Nature’s Mark: Printing on Fiber,” an exhibition highlighting the work of seven artists.

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She hopes this exhibition will pose questions about the nature of our identity in the world, and offer views of “a sacred space.”

“Since my work is a fusion of both art and design, I want my viewer to see the potential of a well-designed object or artifact, and realize it can question notions about the body, our environment, and place,” Ujiie said.

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC

The Museum is at 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton, New Jersey, 08809. Our website is www.hunterdonartmuseum.org and our telephone number is 908-735-8415. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm and suggested admission is $5.

ABOUT THE HUNTERDON ART MUSEUM

The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft and design in a 19th century stone mill that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Founded in 1952, the Museum is a landmark regional art center showcasing works by established and emerging contemporary artists. It also offers a dynamic schedule of art classes and workshops for children and adults.

Programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and by funds from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Cultural Trust, Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission, The Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation, Investors Bank, The Large Foundation, The Bunbury Fund at Princeton Area Community Foundation, and corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Hunterdon Art Museum is a wheelchair accessible space. Publications are available in large print. Patrons who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired may contact the Museum through the New Jersey Relay Service at (TTY) 1 (800) 852-7899

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