Keiko Hara was born in Japan in 1942. After studying in Japan at Gendai Art School in Tokyo and Oita-Kenritsu Art College in Oita, Hara earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. In 1983 she was granted permanent resident’s status in the United States as an artist. Hara also earned graduate degrees in printmaking, an MS at the University of Wisconsin and an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Hara currently lives and works in Walla Walla, Washington where she is a Professor of Art at Whitman College.
Early in March 1995, Hara went to Japan with two students to work in the studio and home of master printer, Tadashi Toda. Over the past twenty years Toda has made woodblock prints with an impressive list of American artists including Richard Diebenkorn, Chuck Close and Alex Katz, among others.
Hara’s prints are abstract compositions executed in vibrant color as evidenced by her first print works at Stewart & Stewart in 1980. The subtle references to fire, midnight skies and fertile grasslands offer rich metaphorical images. Her work incorporates real light into pieces already aglow with color. For example, a series of “banners” are printed on sheer handmade paper and attached back- to-back allowing sunlight to layer the images. Her paintings leave the walls and are mounted in free-standing screens. Hara emphasizes flickering light, radiant colors and active forms in her fine prints.
With over thirteen one-person exhibitions to her credit since 1976 in North America and Europe, Hara has also been included in numerous invitational group exhibitions throughout the United States. She has been awarded grants from the Washington State Centennial Commission of Washington/Pacific Cultural Connections at Centrium in 1989, Artpark in New York in 1983 and the AKP Teaching Fellowship in 1987. In 1984 she won the Philadelphia Print Exhibition Selection Award and in 1976 the first prize in the Michigan Print and Drawing Exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Over the past two decades, Hara has been active lecturing and leading printmaking workshops in the United States and Japan. She has also curated a number of exhibitions including the 1984 traveling exhibition, “Current Japanese Printmakers” and the 1997 exhibition “Water, Ink, Paper” at Whitman College.