NOBUKO WATABIKI: YUME ASOBI
1st to 30th June, 2016
Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong / Hollywood Road
Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong is proud to present Nobuko Watabiki
s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong; YUME ASOBI from 1st June at the gallerys Hollywood Road space.
Born in 1958 in Tokyo, the self-taught artist started to show her works from early 1980s. From woodcut prints to wood box works made of the artist
s childhood photo collages, Watabiki explored different styles to express her lost memories and isolation from her early years.
By mid-1990s, the artists focus shifted from photo collages to current painting technique that utilizes oil pastels on Japanese paper. Applying layers of colors with oil pastel sticks on the surface of Japanese paper, she creates intriguing texture on the picture plane which brings out soft and warm sense of nostalgia from the material, and the colors. Round-headed figures are also started to appear in this oil pastel works. Dry facial expression, wide-open mouth without sound, indifferent stare, those somewhat alien visual expressions emerge betraying the tender and warm texture of paper, creates uncanny and curious feelings to viewers.
In her autobiographical book
Curious Hands: Freeing myself and becoming a painter (Shobunsha, 2008) Watabiki often mentions about the nostalgia of early and oblivious childhood, faded memories, dreams she saw, and her strong yearning to create something from an early years. It seems that she investigates straight into her past to find her identity even though it is rather bittersweet and agonizing process. And Watabiki transfers this self-reflecting journey into her creating process as well. That is why some people find elements of
outsider arts from her, and makes her creations so unique at the same time. She literally takes her personal experience and emotion into her creations rather than academic study of Arts or art historical references.
Since taking up residence in Hamburg, Germany in 2008, Watabiki has broaden her spectrum again by using fabrics from old cloths on canvas. Mostly from second-hand shops, the color, patterns and texture of cloths she found in Germany fascinated her with its difference from her mother country.
For this exhibition
YUME ASOBI, the gallery will present Watabiki
s oil pastel works as well
as her recent creations incorporating fabric collages on canvas. It will be an interesting chance to encounter the artists significant oeuvre for the first time in Hong Kong.
YUME means a dream in Japanese, and ASOBI means playing.
According to Sigmund Freud, dreams are window into our unconscious and a manifestation of our deepest desire and anxieties, and particularly of repressed childhood memories. As Watabiki`s works are strongly connected to her childhood and memories, it will be a very intimate experience viewing her works as if walking into her dreams and encounter her emotions, vulnerability and her wishes and hopes as well. We hope this presentation to be a playful experience to investigate the unique, fragile and lovable world of Nobuko Watabiki.