Color, Water, Light and Land

Duration : 12:00-19:00 (Closed on Mondays)

Opening : 2020.10.24(Sat)-2020.12.13(Sun)

Venue : Clinic Mall 3F, the Towers Daiba Build. , 2-2-4 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tel : +81 (0) 3-6426-0726

Web :

Artist : Jeffrey HESSING

Next exhibition of Shun Art Gallery Tokyo is the first solo exhibition in Tokyo by Shanghai-based American artist Jeffrey Hessing, and will be the first exhibition of drawing works only. Hessing’s paintings vibrate with color and life, reflecting his unending search for the extraordinary in the ordinary.
His work resonates with his life experiences from Brooklyn, to the Cote d’Azur, to Shanghai and now in Vietnam. He is now stuck in Vietnam since February because Covid-19 spread during his stay in Vietnam. During his quarantine time, he spent time for drawing. There are images from different parts of France, Several places in China, Bermuda, Slovakia, Italy, Israel.
His work is like a diary. He is a witness to his own life. Painting on rooftops or bridges as well as trips to the wilderness, have turned his “plein-air painting” into an adventure. His extensive travels for exhibitions have provided exotic subjects for landscapes, interiors, cityscapes, and accumulated objects. The drawings exhibited this time has the date of the day when the work was drawn, and while he was unable to leave Vietnam due to the influence of the coronavirus, he drew a work instead of a diary while thinking about foreign lands.
He exhibits worldwide and is permanently represented in Boston and Shanghai. We are please to introduce his artworks in Tokyo in this exhibition.


Artist’s Story

The cold bothers me. My shoulders hunch up, my back curls, my chest folds inward, my head sinks into my neck. No matter how warm the clothes my feet and hands are freezing. My nose sticks out fairly far from my face and it suffers from lack of protection.

It was getting cold and damp in Shanghai in January. I headed for a couple of weeks on the warm beach in Danang. I packed a small bag. Just enough for a couple of weeks on the beach. And, of course, my water colors.

Painting is like playing an instrument or professional sports. You have to practice every day.

Then Coronavirus struck. They shut down the borders. The flights were canceled . At first life continued as normal in Danang while other countries were locked down. Eventually the virus made it’s way here and we were on the first lockdown.

I live in a hotel across from the beach. There are fifty rooms on fifteen floors. I am the only guest. Alone, in my room, I have a view of the sea and my watercolors.

For the first five years of my career I did only ink drawings. Not in the Japanese or Chinese style. But I love the Japanese tools, brush and ink, because they are the most unforgiving. You put down a line or lay down a wash and you are committed. There is no going back, no changes. You can move forward or start all over. It’s the perfect metaphor for life.

After five years I started with water colors on hand made toned paper. They were different from the ones you see today. More atmospheric, more watery. They were mostly clouds with a row of trees at the bottom.

Then I moved to oil on canvas. I discovered a love of landscape. I tried every kind of clothing to paint outdoors in winter, electric socks, coats suitable for the antarctic. It was impossible. Not in Massachusetts. After a two year search I moved to the South of France. There are four seasons. There is a winter. But it is short and mild. I like the change. For forty years I was painting outdoors, “en plein aire” every day, in all seasons, in wind and rain.

I had many exhibitions of  paintings, but the drawings I did during my travels were my secret.

It’s been eight months since the beginning of my two week trip to the beach. I’ve renewed my visa three times.

I have always wondered if I could go to a strange place, where I knew no one, and start all over again with nothing. Now I know. I have lot’s of friends in Danang. I am a familiar face in many bars and restaurants. My small stock of clothes is diminishing as they wear out and tear but that is unimportant. Most important is I have a whole new body of work.

The first shut down lasted three weeks. Then we were back to normal for three months. The second shutdown lasted seven weeks. We just came out of it and the rainy season began.

I am sequestered again in my room at the top of the empty hotel. Between deluges I made a run to the store to buy more drawing paper. I draw at my table by the window watching the waves roll in and the storm clouds approach on the horizon.

If I have paints or paper and ink I don’t need anything else. It is my lifeline.

Jeffrey Hessing