Topography of Light: Kenji Kojima and Erica Shires

November 1 - December 14, 2006

Gallery Sakiko is pleased to present Topography of Light, featuring works by New York based artists Erica Shires and Kenji Kojima. Though they work in differing mediums – Shires is a photographer and Kojima a painter - they both share a keen interest in techniques of the past while adding a contemporary and highly unique twist. 

For this body of work, Shires used the historic wet plate process, which was developed in 1851. Here, collodion is poured onto a coated aluminum plate, which while still wet and light sensitive, is inserted directly into a camera’s film holder and exposed for up to 1 minute. The results are mysteriously distorted images, in which rich detail, crisp lines, and blurry fragments, intermingle, providing the subject matter with an equally romantic and strangely haunted quality. In fact, each storyline unfolds slowly and requires careful observation, luring the viewer to embark on an equally sensual and abstract visual journey. Most of these unique works are portraits of the artist’s friends Jane and Lori, who came to New York to stay with Shires for the five days of the shoot. Captured in between long discussions, these highly personal images translate the intimacy of this experience with an immediacy of great impact.

Engaging in the dialogue between art and craft, Kojima’s work challenges the distinction between painting and sculpture. In 1980, he began to explore the medieval and highly ceremonial technique of egg tempera, in which egg yolk binds the pigment. Each layer is applied to a gessoed ground and build up incrementally to create elaborate textures.  By using thick and at times unusually shaped wooden supports, Kojima embraces the sense of three-dimensionality. The works featured in this exhibition belong to a series called Stream, in which preliminary studies are completed with the help of computer programs. Incorporating high impasto with silver leaf, the works translate as poetic reflections of movement and subtle transitions of form. While at a distance, they appear as almost meditatively simple Kojima’s paintings show their intricate complexity upon close inspection.