An exhibition of work by three contemporary Japanese artists will open in the gallery of the De Pree Art Center on Monday, Feb. 23.

The exhibition, "Light Boxes/Dark Rooms," will feature work by Shinji Ogawa, Tomoaki Shitara and Ko Yamada. It will open with a reception on Friday, Feb. 27, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. that will include talks by Tomoaki Shitara and Ko Yamada at 5:30 p.m.

The public is invited to both the exhibition, which continues through Friday, March 19, and the opening events. Admission is free.

The artists, who all work in or near Nagoya, Japan, explore basic themes in art such as the nature of imagery and the nature of looking. Their sources, which include zen philosophy, postmodern theories, and contemporary film, demonstrate a sophisticated and erudite knowledge of the world.

All three use the medium of photography in one way or another. In the exhibition's catalog, curator Brenda Mitchell explains the theme this way: "As a light box illuminates images from behind in order to make the photographs visible, so these artists illuminate recent cultural theories. The works also function to bring into focus images of, and insights into, the shared experiences of our current lives, including universal questions such as 'who am I?,' 'how do I define my relationships?,' and 'what happens when we die?.' They provide us with an opportunity to examine and focus on understanding human experience in the speed-of-light, global experience of today."

Shinji Ogawa was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1959 and graduated from Mie University in 1983. He has exhibited his paintings, drawings, and digital videos widely in Japan and most recently in New York in 2003. Currently he is represented by the roentgenwerke gallery in Tokyo. He will exhibit two of his digital video installations in the gallery.

Tomoaki Shitara was born in 1955. He is currently a professor of art at the Aichi Prefectural University near Nagoya. He has exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout Japan, including Nagoya and Tokyo, and his work is included in numerous public and private collections there. He contributes to the show with a series of paintings on polyester film overlaying canvas.

Ko Yamada, born in 1964, currently teaches photography at three universities in Nagoya. Since earning an MFA in photography from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Yamada has exhibited in Japan, the United States, Brazil and Germany. In addition, he worked as the Vice Secretary General for the 2002 International Symposium on Electronic Arts held in Nagoya. He contributes an installation of black and white photos printed on record album covers containing vinyl records; accompanied by turntables simultaneously playing vinyl recordings of multiple conversations.

The exhibition's curator, Brenda Mitchell, is professor of modern art at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This exhibition resulted from a teaching and research fellowship awarded to her by the newly created Center for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology in the School of Education at Nagoya University in Japan. Dr. Mitchell was the first recipient of the fellowship.

The De Pree Art Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The gallery is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is handicapped accessible.