Our Contemporary section shows the range of artistic possibilities open to artists these days, and also how difficult it is to categorize them.
Despite their airy, modernist look, Ed Baker's paintings are in some ways the most traditional. They're scanned images whose abbreviated painting style and interpenetrating white background reflect the classic haiga aesthetic. By contrast, Matt Bricker's and Carol Raisfeld's depict kigo imagery (pine and moon) though both depend on computer generated visual effects. Finally, Jasminka's, Lary Fraser's and Shane Gilreath's haiga are about memories of family Christmases and thus reflect haiga as it has moved beyond its Japanese origins to become an international art form.
What fascinated me about these last three haiga was the way the three authors approached their memories. Both Jasminka and Lary wrote their grandmothers' cooking—surely the quintessential symbol of holiday tradition. Shane's two haiga, on the other hand, take an ironic approach. They depict a twentieth century American family whose tree is artificial and whose keeper of traditions is a boy in a Santa Claus hat.