Close To Home Yet Far Away
Artist Reception: Monday, March 16, 2015 | 5 pm
A painting can reside simultaneously in its material presence—physical, colored minerals, their arrangements on paper or silk—and its illusory presence—the evocation of illusion, forming in the viewer a convincing belief in the presence of space and time. The exchange between the real and the imagined is a perceptual experience where the personal and the public, the local and the foreign can exist simultaneously. I use minerals and stones as pigments, processing them by pulverizing and hand-grinding them into many different levels of texture from coarse to fine. I apply these pigments to silk and Japanese paper with hide glue, a process that results in a subtle surface refraction. These are the techniques of ancient Japanese painting. I have reconstructed these time-consuming processes as both a form of resistance to cultural erasure and an acknowledgement of the existence of a space where the personal and the public, the local and the foreign can coexist.
I grew up in a small grocery fish market in Salt Lake City, Utah. We spoke Japanese at home and English the rest of the time. In a two-block area known as Japantown, there was a street of noodle houses, shops, churches, and gathering places, including our fish market. Japantown became the home village to Japanese-American culture in the intermountain United States. The area was redeveloped in the 1960s into a large sports complex and convention center. Today there are only two church buildings left. Everyone moved far away. The center of the community was lost. These businesses, homes, and families are gone from that space but continue to live in collective memories. My work constructs a deep landscape space to explore the idea that these spaces of recollection are owned by all and cannot be taken away so easily. I figure landscape as a location where the natural elemental can coexist with the narratives of people I know and respect.
For more information on Craig Nagasawa, please visit the artist's website.