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Asian art form on display at Robert Trail Library

Ten artists will display sumi-e works like this one at the Robert Trail Library.

Years ago, Jim McGuire attended a sumi-e art exhibit at the Edina Arts Center. McGuire, a Rosemount resident, was mesmerized by the art form, also known as East Asian Brush Painting, and decided to give it a whirl.

Three decades later, McGuire still loves it. He belongs to Minnesota Ming Chiao Chapter of the sumi-e Society of America. Weekly, McGuire meets with a group from Ming Chiao to paint.

Like all artists, McGuire and his fellow sumi-e artists are always looking for places to exhibit their art. So when the opportunity to show paintings at the Robert Trail Library came up, they took it.

The Rosemount Area Arts Council and the Robert Trail Library have partnered to offer area artists an opportunity to show their work. Most recently, each of the four elementary schools that serve Rosemount have had exhibits in the library.

Starting June 1, 10 members of the Ming Chiao chapter, including McGuire, will show their work at the library. The show will run through August. An artist reception will be held 1 to 3 p.m. June 8 at the library.

East Asian Brush Painting

Sumi-e is one of the oldest art forms in the world. It started in China and Japan and has spread throughout East Asia, according to the sumi-e society.

Sumi-e strives to capture the essential nature of its subject spontaneously in a minimum number of brush strokes.

The watercolor medium differs from western painting in composition, said McGuire. McGuire explained that sumi-e artists deliberately leave white space, which captures the simplicity of the subject and gives the painting depth.

To create the paintings, artists use materials called the Four Treasures. The tools include a bamboo brush, ink, inkstone and paper.

The paintings include traditional subjects including orchids, bamboo, plum trees and chrysanthemum called the Four Gentleman. McGuire said the painting can include animals such as birds and horses as well.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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