Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Makiko Nakamura - Journeys

This review first appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on the 11 October 2015.

Makiko Nakamura is a Japanese artist who moved to Dublin in 1999 to commune with the shade of Samuel Beckett. She returned to her native Kyoto last year. Her early work here inclined towards the cryptic with greys and blacks predominant. Her exemplar's influence could be seen both in the rigorous minimalism of these virtually monochromatic paintings and in their finely-honed finish. Her current show featuring 39 new works hasn't entirely abandoned this early tendency. The large painting North Temple is almost uniformly black apart from the shadow of a grid beneath the surface. It's an imposing piece imbued with a dark serenity that suggests Rothko. There are still quite a few of these moody meditations in the show but they are leavened by others that demonstrate a lighter and brighter palette. Yellows and blues abound and Les Ailes Rouges is a luxuriant red. Also, her characteristic underlying grid has been replaced in many cases by circles - producing softer cells. Her technique involves the application of layer upon layer of paint, constantly erasing and reworking so that the completed work shows traces of the stages in its creation. These are painterly palimpsests for our mediative contemplation.

Taylor Galleries


John P. O'Sullivan