SHANGHAI.- An exhibition of Maki Umehara will open November 6, 2007 in the context of the Olympic Games 2008 in China. The Japanese sculptor Maki Umehara was born in Nagoya, Japan on July 16 1976. After attending primary and secondary schools in her native city, she enrolled in 1996 at Nagoya Zokei University of Art and Design, Faculty of Art, in Nagoya to attend classes in new media. In 1999, thanks to an exchange program, she attended the Carnegie Mellon University, Faculty of Art in Pittsburgh, in the United States.
She graduated from the Nagoya Zokei University in 2000. In that same year, she was awarded a bursary " Tobikai-sho " from the Nagoya Zokei University of Art and Design, and she decided to continue her studies in Europe, by settling down in Düsseldorf, Germany. She enrolled in the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and worked under the professors Christian Megert, Irmin Kamp and Rita McBride. From 2002 through 2005, Maki Umehara obtained a grant for overseas artists, awarded by the Japanese Agency for Cultural affairs in the Japanese government. Also in 2004, she obtained a travelling grant from the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. In 2006 she was awarded a Master’s Degree from the department of sculpture in Professor Rita McBride’s Master Class at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf.
Maki Umehara then started to have museum and gallery exhibitions in galleries in Switzerland, Holland, Hungary and in Germany, then a series of solo shows including the exhibition entitled " Breeze " in the Sammler gallery in Leipzig, Germany, the exhibition " Sprung nach oben " in the Best Kunstraum in Essen, Germany, the exhibition " Translate Form/Translate Space " in the Markus Winter gallery in Berlin, Germany…
In her approach, Maki Umehara is particularly fond of abstract, geometric, minimalist forms. Her works explore space as a continual transition between the notions of groupings and fragments. Each part of the whole can become independent and produce a visual impact simultaneously, separately and as a whole. The artist is also very interested in color as a vector for emotion, in relaxation and in tension, taking her inspiration from the great Japanese tradition in that field, as well as from the European modernists’ conception, at the start of the 20th century and also from the Bauhaus.
Maki Umehara has given lectures at the Arts Faculty in the Nagoya Zokei University in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. She has organized many artistic events in Germany as well as in Japan, specifically " Transit I " in Nagoya in 2001 and in the same year " Transit II " in Düsseldorf. In 2006, together with two German artists, she set up "nüans" in Düsseldorf, an alternative space where she curated a series of exhibitions, "First 3 sec." "Straight Stories", " Love, Cables and Voices" and in 2007 " Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft ". This project is currently ongoing.
Her works are found in important private and public collections in Japan, in Germany and in France. Maki Umehara lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.