29 September 2006

Nihonga 6: Nakagami Kiyoshi

I trust my sense of vision. Not in the sense that it is never mistaken but because of its capacity to discover something entirely different from what is ordinarily seen. To put it more accurately, I trust it because of its capacity for misunderstanding and because of its ability to discover space. I trust its capacity for making people awake of light, faraway time and infinity, in a simple flat space without depth. I have a deep faith in representation that transcends the individual and attains universality.”
Nakagami Kiyoshi

More than three weeks after attending the Nihonga exhibition, work of Nakagami Kiyoshi (中上清) remains an enigma to me. All of the works on display were untitled and seemed to depict the sun obscured by hazy smog and dark clouds. Sometimes titles can be the key to unlocking meaning in a given painting, but sometimes (as in the case of Matsui Fuyuko) artists use the title to impose their intentions too heavily upon the spectator. These paintings remind me of afternoons spent looking up at the clouds and creating imaginary worlds on their billowing peaks and valleys. Yet, unlike such clouds on a summer’s day, Nakagami’s clouds have a melancholy about them. To truly appreciate Nakagami’s work, I would need to spend more time with the paintings. It would be great to have one of the paintings in a room that has natural light so that one could observe how the painting changes with the subtle variations in the quality of light throughout the day.

© cmmhotes 2006