Saturday, June 25, 2011

Windows of the Soul

Cloudy Sky (2010) by Hideaki Kawashima

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see an exhibit of Hideaki Kawashima's works at the Richard Heller Gallery entitled "Turning". I was fond of his previous work, but not really an "enthusiast" of it. His works are characterized by captivating eyes, filled with emotional expressiveness. However, his previous works tended towards abstract figural shapes around these powerful eyes.

Ghostly blobs with intense eyes, they were haunting and somewhat disturbing. They literally were "eyes without a face". I understand that there were Buddhist concepts of emptiness and transience underlying his paintings. They were powerful works, but I never felt comfortable with them. Something was lost in the cultural translation. These ghosts seemed forlorn.

Impossibility (2008) by Hideaki Kawashima

In "Turning", the eyes have found their face.

With the added detail, the eyes become grounded in a coherent reality. They remain just as expressive but the substantiated forms provide an access point for the viewer. The ability to determine significance from the eyes becomes richer with the greater figural articulation.

Begging (2010) by Hideaki Kawashima

Moreover, I don't feel that the concept of emptiness of transience has been weakened by the addition. The figures and the space remain simple and stylized. It isn't as if the paintings have become cluttered or distracted. The conceptual focus is just as sharp, but given greater expression.

I'm pleased with this new development in Hideaki Kawashima's work. I'm really looking forward to his next show.

Light Purple (2010) by Hideaki Kawashima

Sadly, the exhibit is over. So if you haven't seen it, you're out of luck. These pieces really need to be seen in person. The way the eyes follow you around the gallery is amazing, and a bit uncanny. ;-)

I apologize for the tardiness. Part of my mid-July blogging reform will be to focus on shows that have recently opened. I have a bad habit of visiting exhibits on their closing weekends. I'm often torn between blogging or not blogging about the event. With openings the choice is easy.

Here's a link to the Richard Heller Gallery.


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