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Naoko Watanabe


1993 B.F.A in Painting, Kyoto City University of Arts 1995 M.F.A in Painting, Kyoto City University of Arts 2002- 2004 Studied at Prof. Jörg Immendorff class and Prof. Gerhard Merz class in Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf 2003- 2004 Studied in the Federal Republic of Germany as a Fellow of ‘The Japanese Government Overseas Study Programme for Artists’ Contemporary artist working in an abstract manner. Watanabe deeply explores the role of color in conveying the essence of the world and its perception. One of Watanabe's concepts is "representing the moment when incompatible things meet as a beautiful state of painting." “The conflict of different things happens continually in life. Rather than seeing it as a trap or inconsistency, I want to make it the most interactive and active moment for each other to shine,” Watanabe thinks. The striking strokes and quiet lines are folded in layers, the composition of abstraction and concrete, and the glossiness of the oil, the complex color mixture and the color that changes the way of viewing by light rays, We want to work and see. “My painting is a painting that I don't understand. I don't understand it, but experience and feel it. I want to create a new option for the viewers to discover their own creative ideas.” One of the stimulating ideas behind her painting concept is the wish to express a moment when two incompatible things meet each other and present this moment as an eye-watering bright story of infinite beauty. Conflicts between different things happen constantly in life. Rather than perceiving collisions as friction or discord she shows them as the most interactive moment in which oppositions “contribute for the sheen of each other”. This time Watanabe’s sophisticated and emotional presentation is about her experience of the realities of life during corona pandemic. For Watanabe the daily life turned into reconsideration of the notion of “freedom”. By reviewing her behavior and exploring the "distance from others", Watanabe became motivated to assert herself through the persons and things she cherishes most. Her desire to emphasize that "beautiful things enrich our relationships with others" lies at the core of this exhibition. Watanabe paints with colors and techniques which could be directly associated with the Glamour style. Especially vivid colors and glossy sheen create resplendently luxurious and elegant appearance. Gold and silver scattered around the canvas sparkle with glitter. This effect may be found back in costumes of the Noh theatre, which originated in Japan in the 14th century when threads of silver and gold were lavishly woven into the fabrics to make them shine and glitter in the shadows of night. Blending of golden yellow, juicy orange, deep scarlet, hot pink, swimming-pool blue and grass-green highlights Watanabe’s visual identity and play a crucial role in giving her a fashionable edge. Everything she paints feels very powerful and confident – but never forced, just effortless and natural. Yet, at the same time, there is energy and a kind of cool atmosphere that has resonance for modern woman. Watanabe successfully manages to present the approach where such bright and provocative materials are balanced without breaking into vulgarity and kitsch. Intense strokes and tranquil lines fold over and over in various layers. The hue and the glamour of oil painting change their appearance due to the complexity of coloring and light rays. The composition with concrete bright clear shapes complement blurred and abstract spots of soft color acquiring a real depth and supporting a three-dimensional effect. All this pictorial elements inspire the viewers to evoke their sensuality to view and explore the painting. It is quite difficult to grasp the meaning of abstraction and to decode the artist’s system of signs. But Watanabe is sure that painting is not something to be understood, but should rather be experienced and sensed intuitively. It reminds us that abstract painting is a way to get in touch with the world with the help of free ideas. She wants the painting to be a new opportunity for the viewer to discover himself as a creative being and to re-see our identities in connection to art work.

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“The conflict of different things happens continually in life. Rather than seeing it as a trap or inconsistency, I want to make it the most interactive and active moment for each other to shine,” Watanabe thinks.


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