Born in Chiba Prefecture in 1987, Okamoto is currently completing doctoral studies in Oil Painting at the Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts. In her first solo exhibition at Mizuma Action in 2010, her fantastical and wondrous compositions created using oil paint built up on the canvas in countless infinitesimal layers met with resoundingly high acclaim.
Okamoto takes much inspiration from Japanese noh theatre and folkloric studies, and as part of her fieldwork she habitually attends yōkyoku* performances as well as visiting areas such as Chikubushima in which lie the origins of various folkloric traditions. She assimilates the unique ambience of each place, its traditions, mythologies and folk religious customs, and inscribes these upon on her canvases. Although at first glance it would seem to be a non-realistic, fantastical world that occupies her works, within them lie the interwoven appearances of societies that have continued unbroken from the past until the present day.
Enveloped within the richly mellow hues of her paintings are plants and living creatures each resplendent with a vivid sense of dynamism amidst the wind, water and air of her compositions. We can perhaps sense the artist’s gaze oscillating between the world of today’s transient age and that of the eternally unchanging.
‘Troposphere’, the title for this Okamoto’s first solo exhibition in six years, is originally a word from meteorological terminology referring to the part of the atmospheric layer surrounding the earth in which cloud formations occur, and within which rain, snow and thunder are created.
Okamoto offers a novel interpretation of this word in that it constitutes ‘an atmospheric layer in which the fundamental energy of life is always flowing’, and she has united this with the aims of her own artistic practice.
We invite you to peruse the world of Okamoto Ellie, replete with energetic vitalities in interwoven abundance.
- The main vocal section of the music of noh theatre, also known as utai.