Black Robe White Mist brings to the RMIT Gallery Melbourne, the elegant calligraphy, rustic pottery and fine scroll paintings of one of the most successful female Japanese artists and poets of the 19th century, Otagaki Rengetsu (1791 – 1875).
Rengetsu, whose name evocatively translates as Lotus Moon, was a Buddhist nun, renowned for her inspired poetry, pottery and calligraphy. Her early life was one of extreme difficulty, but her poverty encouraged her to explore many avenues and in her mid forties, she began to make tea ceramics, inscribed with her own poetry.
Her work has a strong sense of the region around Kyoto where she lived and her brushwork has been described as unique, using fine lines without variation, a delicate writing with an inner tension. Her delicate, modest poetry is transcribed onto every item which appears in this show.