Kaoru Mansour, ‘Monkey ball #105’, 2008, Heather James Fine Art
Kaoru Mansour, ‘Monkey ball #105’, 2008, Heather James Fine Art

Kaoru Mansour, a native of Japan, is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her artwork has
varied over the last ten years, ranging from geometric abstract paintings on paper to
her more recent botanical collage elements on wooden panels. Delicately colored
organic forms are covered with twenty to thirty different layers of encaustic, which
gives her work a rich and highly textured appearance.

Mansour grew up in a small mountainous village. She has vivid, early childhood
memories of playing with, studying and even eating the tremendous varieties of
seasonal plants in the lush forests of Japan. As she began her formal training as an
artist at Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles, the impact of her previous natural
surroundings emerged. While her work has evolved over the years, botanical
imagery, whether actual or abstracted, has always figured in her work.

Mansour’s current body of work connects images of plants with abstract mark
making. The artist goes into her physical surroundings to gather plants and flowers -
whatever she finds of interest during a particular season. She then transfers images
of single specimens onto panels - whether it is a leaf, the whole plant or just a portion
of a flower - the image is always simple and solitary. A muted, butter-like
background holds the image which is glazed over to form a cracked, raku-like surface

  • a small gesture to her Japanese heritage. Mansour then draws colored circles and
    other small ink markings on the panels, enhancing the fundamental beauty of a single
    branch or stem. These simple, focused pieces elegantly integrate graphic and organic
    expressions. While the viewer may recognize a particular type of plant or flower, the
    image is always simplified - a flower stripped of leaves, a stem without its main
    branch or a sturdy stalk detached from the ground. Her compositions crop those
    “extraneous” elements from the picture plane to emphasize the abstract beauty and
    remarkable form of her chosen specimen. Her delicate markings swirl around and
    attach to the delicate branches, creating new, otherworldly plant forms that are at
    once astute with their precision and wonderfully whimsical.

About Kaoru Mansour