Two years ago, Tarpon Springs artist James Sikes exhibited a collection of 37 works at the Pasco Art Council entitled "Kyoto Rediscovered: Painting & Collages."
It was so successful — most of the work was sold to collectors and art dealers — that he is coming back with 31 more works, most of them created since his last exhibit.
Like the first exhibit, the subject matter for this show, "Unspoiled Japan: Paintings & Collages by James Sikes," is based on the 30 years he lived in Japan while working for the U.S. government and a Tokyo subsidiary of an American company, as well as his annual visits to that country.
"I studied and painted, mostly for my own pleasure, from 1980 to 2004," Sikes wrote in an artist's statement. Since then, his work has been in many shows, including seven solo exhibits at museums such as the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center and the Pasco Art Council.
Sikes does representational and abstract work. The collages often incorporate crimped rice paper, printed gift wrap paper, tiny strips of real bamboo, tissue paper and various fabrics.
"Acrylic paint is my primary medium of choice, often used together with watercolor, ink, gouache, or casein on paper, board or canvas," Sikes said.
"Many of my depictions of old shops, courtesans and landscapes are created entirely with Japanese paper (washi), then glazed with paint where needed," Sikes said.
Several of the works are interesting perspectives of Japanese temples, shrines and private homes, called minka, as well as shops in old towns and rural areas.
"Other favorite motifs include the hanamachi of Kyoto, the picturesque district where geiko (Kyoto term for geisha) and maiko (apprentice geisha) live and entertain in traditional teahouses that remain much as they have for centuries," Sikes said.
Most of the works are about 22 by 30 inches, some horizontal in composition, others vertical. There are a few large, square pieces. Prices range from $650 to $1,200, said Ann Larsen, executive director of the center.
As with the earlier exhibit, those who attend will be tempted to touch the intricately textured paintings — but that would destroy the delicate work, so patrons can expect to see several "Please Do Not Touch" signs tucked inside the exhibit.