A new exhibition at 934 Gallery combines old traditions, new techniques and Jell-O.
“Vanitas,” presented by artist and Columbus College of Art and Design professor Hiroshi Hayakawa, will adorn the painted brick walls of 934 Gallery Saturday.
In his collection, Hayakawa said he combined vanitas paintings — a genre of traditional 17th-century Dutch still lifes depicting the inevitability of death — with his interest in figurative art. He said figurative art comes from the inspiration of real objects, adding a twist to the traditional genre.
Hayakawa said the vanitas genre includes mainly “natural and earthly beauties” and draws attention to the brevity of life.
“Whatever you’re enjoying in life is not permanent,” Hayakawa said.
Stemming from the death of his father in 2014, Hayakawa’s own traumatic experience was the driving force behind the “Vanitas” collection, he said. He spent the five years following his father’s death using art as a therapeutic outlet and said he hopes to convey the importance of enjoying each moment.
Hayakawa added he will be showing graphite and charcoal pieces, as well as paintings. In addition, he will include photography in the exhibition.
“When I was introduced to his paintings and his drawings, I was just blown away because I only knew him as a photographer,” Johnny Riddle, executive director of 934 Gallery, said.
Hayakawa said he employed two 19th century photography processes — the Vandyke Brown process and gumboro chromatic process — to create the photographs in his collection. He used three distinct chemicals, store-bought Jell-O and ultraviolet light to transfer photographs onto sheets of glass rather than paper.
He said he often creates his work from the comfort of his kitchen with the company of his French bulldog, Pearl.
Riddle said the exhibitions hosted in the 934 Gallery are a small part of what the venue has to offer.
The gallery space also includes a volunteer-built music stage. Riddle said the space is often home to installation pieces — works meant to be experienced rather than simply looked at — that often take full rooms to display and are not for sale.
Riddle added that the gallery strives to make visitors feel welcome and comfortable in experiencing the artwork in their own ways. He said this mentality attracts a multitude of volunteers to the volunteer-run gallery.
“When you come into 934 Gallery, you’re not going to be standing there alone, isolated or uncomfortable about being in an art gallery,” Riddle said.
Although his work is extremely personal, Hayakawa said anyone who appreciates the time and effort put into the creative process will be able to pick up on the theme of his work, which contributes to the 934 Gallery’s overall environment.
The 934 Gallery community will celebrate the unveiling of Hayakawa’s exhibition with a public reception 7-10 p.m. Saturday and will continue until Nov. 15. Hayakawa will be at the reception, and according to the Facebook event, he will be drawing portraits of visitors for $40 from noon to 3 p.m.