Line of Sight consists of seventeen recent oil paintings by Nagare, in which the artist applies translucent brushstrokes of both opulent and sober colors that flow organically across her pictorial surface. Blue, purple, magenta, yellow, and – occasionally - green, red and white, are delicately layered, bleeding, and morphing into dynamic abstract forms.
For many years, observing strangers around her has been an impetus for Nagare’s art. She fixes her eyes on both the visible and invisible, the shapely and shapeless characteristics of a person, filtered through her imagination. By tracing these remnants in her studio, Nagare confronts the stranger’s reciprocated gaze. This distant and delayed exchange with strangers allows Nagare to create psychologically unsettling and ambiguous abstract portraits.
These works, produced between 2013 and 2014 and featured in Line of Sight, adopt the same attitude towards the landscapes – particularly of Tohoku, a northeastern region of Japan – as her new interest. The omnipresent beauty and strength in natural environments such as mountain ridges, clouds, rocks, or waterfalls are clearly the artist’s inspiration for the last three years. At the same time, the works communicate Nagare’s internal state of being as an intent witness of a potentially fearful sublime force. The artist keeps her eye trained on the lines of nature, allowing for the formation of her personal lines within the paintings. Such lines eventually meet with the eye of others—viewers or strangers. This open-ended “line of sight” concept is the key to appreciating the depth of Nagare’s mesmerizing work.
Manika Nagare was born in Osaka in 1975. After graduating from the department of painting at Joshibi University of Art and Design, she exhibited her work at the VOCA exhibition, a platform for young emerging artists, in 2000 and 2006. Since 2002, she has been an overseas artist-in-residence sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and a recipient of the Pola Art Foundation Grant based in New York, showing her work in the US, Turkey and other countries. Major exhibitions include “Glib Reticence, Reticent Glibness” at the Pola Museum Annex, Tokyo, and “Domani: The Art of Tomorrow” at the National Art Center, Tokyo. Since 2012, Nagare has organized an art workshop project Ichijigahaku (Artist For A Day) for the children affected by earthquake and tsunami, making frequent trips to Tohoku.