Toshi Asai exhibit at Frances Anderson Center intersects visual, literary arts

“Nitobe Inazou” acrylic on wood from “Sakka Series” by Toshi Asai, part of an exhibit of her work at the Frances Anderson from now through the end of October.

The Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation and the Edmonds Arts Commission are pleased to present the work of Seattle artist Toshi Asai from now through Oct. 29 in an exhibit of work highlighting the intersection of visual and literary arts.

The exhibit consists of two parts: part one (in the display case) contains “Sakka Series,” a collection of famous, significant modern Japanese authors. These authors shaped the artist’s knowledge of literature in her early years and still hold a special place in her practice and mindset today. Some of the authors included are Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, and Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

The second part of the exhibit (in the gallery) includes a form of collage-like drawing and painting done during an intensive 30-hour drawing-performance at Project: Space Available on Capitol Hill. The images and words are taken from newspapers, personal journals and various books that form a timeline documentation of an event.  It was an intuitive experiment that unfolded over time.

Asai states, “Although I was formally trained to paint traditionally, in recent years I have wanted to mix writings and drawings.  For this intensive project, I chose a selection of writings from my current interest: Tsurezuregusa (the harvest of leisure) – 14th century essay by Kenko Yoshida, one of the three representative works of medieval Japanese literatures. I also included portions of current issues and writings from Japanese newspapers. And last but not least, I jotted down my thoughts, feelings and events that happened during the 30-hour period. All of these combinations became a background, like a far away scene in the picture-making process, before I started to draw animals. The text is not meant to be understood fully, however it is more like my footsteps and past marks over a prolonged period of activity.”

The public is invited to Meet the Artist on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Frances Anderson Center. Born in Nagoya, Japan, Toshi Asai graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Physics and a B.F.A. in Painting in 2003. She currently works and lives in Seattle.

The Edmonds Arts Festival Museum and the Edmonds Arts Commission Display Case are located in the Frances Anderson Center, Main Entrance – 700 Main St., Edmonds. Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, call 425-771-0228 or 771-1984. For more information about the arts in Edmonds, visit and

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