JANUARY 15 – FEBRUARY 19, 2005

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 15th from 6-8pm
Artist’s talk at 6:30pm

Houston—De Santos Gallery presents Lines, new works based on minimalist landscapes of North America by the young Japanese artist Kiriko Shirobayashi. The Lines series includes color photographs (20-inch square C-prints) that combine a delicate Japanese aesthetic with rugged American landscapes. The horizon line motif underscores a common thread found in all landscapes, from urban skylines to swampy wetlands. Shirobayashi transforms the colors of her images, originally captured on color film, into mysterious, aqueous hues that offer a refreshing interpretation of the varied American terrain. Her primary tool is a Hasselblad twin-lens camera loaded with 120mm film. Her method that transforms the primary colors of the outdoors comes from a film processing technique called “pushing” or “pulling,” which means to add or subtract the amount of time the film is processed.

The 33-year old Shirobayashi was born and raised in Osaka, Japan, and relocated to New York City in 1996 after working as an assistant for a fashion photographer in Japan. Hungry for a chance to pursue her art and to experience another culture, Shirobayashi enrolled in the School of Visual Arts in New York where she earned a MFA in Photography and Related Media in 1999. Since then, she has quickly gained recognition in New York and abroad for her photography projects including Collected Moments and Sublimation.

Shirobayashi’s influences include important Japanese art movements virtually unknown in the States: the avant-garde Gutai group of the 1950s and the Mono-ha school of the 1970s. The Gutai group challenged the status quo of institutional exhibition spaces in post-World War II Japan through happenings and performances, much like the Fluxus and performance artists were doing in the States. The Mono-ha (literally meaning “school of things”) school emerged from western influences such as the Fluxus art movement coupled with Eastern philosophy. The Mono-ha artists based their art on materials (“things”) as well as concepts, an approach that has been compared to that of Western artists Robert Smithson and Richard Long whose earthworks were created during the same time in the U.S. and England. Unlike their Western counterparts, the Mono-ha integrated European philosophy from Heidegger to Merleau-Ponty with Eastern metaphysics. By recognizing these past movements, now firmly embedded in Japanese art history, we can better understand the work of contemporary Japanese photographers such as Mariko Mori, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Yasumasa Morimura who have significantly influenced younger generations of photographers— including Shirobayashi. Shirobayashi has thoughtfully addressed her foreign influences while making relevant her personal art practice in the current contemporary photography scene.

Shirobayashi has exhibited her photography and video installations at international venues such as the M+A Gallery, Amsterdam (2000); the Nonconformist Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2001); National Museum of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus (2002); and Exit Art, New York, (2002, 2003). Her work is collected by museums and corporate collections including the Kinsey Institute Museum, Bloomington, Illinois, and the Neuberger Berman art collection in New York. She recently mounted a one-person exhibition at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, N.Y. in 2002 and exhibited at the Sara Gris Art Gallery in New York City in 2004. Following her Lines exhibition at the De Santos Gallery, Shirobayashi will travel to the south of Spain for an artist residency at the FundaciÛn Valparaiso.

About the De Santos Gallery
The De Santos Gallery, designed by architect Fernando Brave, is owned and directed by Luis and Gemma de Santos, who are natives of Spain and long-time residents of Houston. The De Santos Gallery specializes in photography (including traditional and new media) from contemporary European and Asian photographers including Anna Halm-Schudel, Roman Loranc, Sang-Nam Park, and Kimiko Yoshida. The gallery also has work available by North American and Latin American artists: Clyde Butcher, Linda Butler, and Edgar Moreno among others.

The De Santos Gallery is located at 1724-A Richmond Avenue at Dunlavy Street in the museum district of Houston. Gallery hours are: Wednesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery will be closed from December 31st 2004 to January 14th 2005. For more information, please call 713-520-1200 or visit

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions at the De Santos Gallery:
Kiriko Shirobayashi: Lines, Jan. 15 – Feb. 19, 2005.
Naia del Castillo: Traps and Seduction, Feb. 26 – Apr. 2, 2005.
Pinhole Photography, Apr. 9 – May 14, 2005.
Gregori Maofis: Tarot Series and Other Works, May 21 – Jun. 25, 2005.