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Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007

ART BRIEF

"Asae Soya: Prism"


Nishimura Gallery
Runs till Nov. 17

News photo

Perspective, by its invocation of distance, divides things and people from each other. While such divisions help us to organize things mentally and visually, they can also deaden the sensuousness and warmth we feel for objects around us. This has been the main drawback of the Western artistic tradition. Asae Soya, 33, who recently earned a doctorate in art from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, paints in a style that uses elements of Western perspective but seeks to overcome its drawbacks by, she says, "employing the five senses to the full."

She pursues this agenda in the 15 paintings and 10 drawings of her first solo exhibition since 2003 (two-thirds of which sold on the first day), employing a number of distorting factors that visually simulate at least two other senses. Shimmering, rainbow- refracted colors and watery effects in oil on panel-mounted cotton give her works a warmth and wetness you can almost feel, while the ripples she paints seem to emit the sounds of water drops dropping.

Hitherto, Soya has largely painted impressions based on bathrooms, but this exhibition includes a number of recent works based on airports. Here, motifs of water bring distance closer and make the impersonal intimate. Water droplets and blurred lights in "Airport Eastgate" (2007) turn the soulless environment of these portals of distance into something resembling an inner psychic soulscape.



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