Linda Tesner and Ryan Hardesty
WSU Press: 2022
The long journeys of artist Keiko Hara take form in swaths of color and shape that speak to land, ocean, and dreamscapes, all beautifully showcased in this book-length retrospective of her 40-year career.
Hara moved to Walla Walla, in the shadow of the Blue Mountains, in 1985. She was born in North Korea to Japanese parents, raised in Japan, and came to the United States in 1971 to pursue greater artistic freedom. She studied printmaking in Michigan and, after 21 years of teaching, retired from Whitman College in 2006.
A number of Hara’s works use the word “topophilia” in their titles. More than just a sense of place, it’s a form of love and an emotional connection to history, memory, natural settings, and the very essence of locations. Hara uses color and motion to bring these feelings to life.
Her commitment to that vision is expressed through paintings and her own form of Japanese woodblock printmaking, often in abstract compositions. Some are displayed in permanent collections at the National Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among others.
“For an artist moving between lands and cultures, Hara’s work shows an artist stitching together many memories and navigating radical life transitions brought on by partings, loss, and making new homes,” writes coauthor Ryan Hardesty, executive director and curator at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU. He has known Hara for almost 20 years.
The book, the first full-scale museum publication about Hara, reflects an exhibition at the WSU museum that ran from May 2022 through June 2023.
Whether you saw the exhibition, have long admired Hara, or want to experience for the first time a lifetime of work from an artist deeply connected to the Northwest and beyond, this volume will draw you into Hara’s world through compelling visual stories.
Podcast: Ryan Hardesty takes listeners on a tour of the museum, including a visit to the Keiko Hara exhibition (Fall 2022)