Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “Embracing the Light,” a solo exhibition of works by Reina Mikame from December 17, 2022 to February 4, 2023.
Reina Mikame pursues her own distinct manner of painting through her consideration of various elements such as line and color, light and temperature. How are landscapes and objects perceived? Or what are the conditions that enable them to be more profoundly discerned and engraved within memory? Mikame has continued to develop her oeuvre through facilitating connections between these questions, which also extend to problems of human perception, and individual themes such as “looking at the line” and “looking at the color.” Presented on this occasion is a dozen or so new paintings including a series of works that reinterpret and re-render motifs that Mikame has engaged with thus far, as well as works depicting a cup filled with water, which can be regarded as a keystone for the very concept of this exhibition. Reflecting on her past practice, Mikame mentions feeling a significant shift or change in her sense of awareness. The artist's questions on seeing and painting have become even more insightful, and here, have further evolved into contemplating the relationship between perception and image.
This exhibition titled “Embracing the Light,” is also the artist’s response from her current standpoint to her 2018 solo exhibition, “The Weight of Water, The Light that Blurs.” At the time, through the process of revisiting the earliest remembered scenes from her childhood pertaining to her subjects of depiction, she realized that the images she envisioned had lacked any element of moisture. However, looking back on this experience from the present, Mikame arrived at the understanding that moisture was not in fact lacking but was indeed existent in the form of difference. Furthermore, having witnessed the sight of water poured into a glass at night being illuminated by the sunlight the following morning, she devised the idea that an image could indeed be something universal that transcends the individual. From landscapes to sunlight filtering through trees, and puddles of water—what the artist depicts are mundane scenes that everyone encounters in everyday life. Mikame's approach of channeling her thoughts to the formation and sharing of flat and neutral images that are not influenced by individual experiences or memories, can also be discerned from the themes that she chooses to engage with.
Mikame's reference to philosopher Henri Bergson's book Matter and Memory also serves as another important and supporting factor in deciphering her work. What this brings to light is the artist’s attempt to perceive the “image” that emerges between matter and representation. In parallel with the act of painting, Mikame’s practice can be seen as expanding further into the realm of “looking.” What does it mean to depict images, and what does it mean to look at them? Her series of new works, which revisit themes of line, color, and light that she has engaged with thus far, while raising the problems of perception and image as key indicators, will no doubt highlight a new frontier in her practice, informed by the differences she finds between the past and the present.
Mikame’s work, which expresses her attempt to create paintings on canvas through language that evokes tactile sensations such as moisture, temperature, and texture, is highly abstract, yet somehow warm and familiar. “Embracing the Light,” which marks the artist’s fifth solo presentation with the gallery, is a comprehensive exhibition that showcases the artist's achievements to date while anticipating the future developments of her practice. We hope viewers will take this opportunity to bear witness to the artist’s endeavors that are manifest in the compositions of her latest paintings.
Born in 1992, and graduated from the Program in Master of Oil Painting Course, Department of Painting, Tokyo University of the Arts. Mikame’s paintings are created in a manner that appears to drift back and forth between opposite ends of the spectrum of the abstract and the objective. Familiar elements that exist within the artist’s surroundings, the artist’s experiences, and the various phenomena that emerge around the artist are conveyed through means of a harmonious balance between the paint and the brushstrokes. At a glance harnessing a precise air of brevity yet at the same time profoundly orchestrated, the works seemingly evolve into abstract portrayals, while in other moments embody a sense of objectivity. Mikame’s works illustrate forethoughts towards the consistent conditions of painting while simultaneously enticing the viewers with her very own unique world, anticipating the artist to further expand her future endeavors towards contemporary painting.