Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Art I'm Looking at: The Collages of Yuko Kimura

At this year's San Francisco Fine Print Fair (January 18-20, 2013) I came across the work of a young Japanese woman, Yuko Kimura, that impressed me greatly. It would be fair to say that, for me, seeing her work was the highlight of the show.

Ms. Kimura, born in Oakland but raised in Tokyo, now lives and works in Cleveland. She was at the venue, having come with the Verne Gallery, a Cleveland gallery specializing in Japanese prints and paintings that represents her.

She showed recent and older work from a number of different series. Despite this being a print fair, all of her work is collage, although she often overprints collage elements with ink, using various techniques, including etching, aquatint, and lithography. I was particularly taken by her "Journey through Mushikui" series. Mushikui means "worm hole" in Japanese. These small works are collages using sheets from old Japanese books riddled with worm holes. Pictured above is Journey through Mushikui Red No. 3, with the book pages overprinted in a rusty orange-red. I liked these collages for their juxtaposition of simple, straight-edged, geometrical forms (mostly the areas of printed color or negative space created by the printed areas) with the decidedly sinuous, contrastingly non-geometric text and line illustrations on the book pages, joined by the organic, random meanderings of the worm holes. A lot of the other work she showed is done using scraps of indigo-dyed cloth or paper or with areas printed in the color of indigo, evocative of worn, patched traditional Japanese rural garb. Ms. Kimura has a wonderful sense of composition and of color. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

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