Manika Nagare‘s color abstract paintings derive from ephemeral phenomena in the real world. In her previous work, she emphasized the superb beauty and fearsome force of natural landscapes to express her feelings about Japan’s catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis. In this new body of work “In Between,” Nagare also retraces her feelings about a real event, but this time it is very personal – the death of her father, a sculptor who passed away two years ago at the age of 95. The title of the show “In Between” is a signifier for the hypothetical space where life is reaffirmed while death is approaching. She remembers seeing an intense light and feeling how exquisitely the plants were spreading their leaves, when the lives of her loved ones were near the end. Inspired by this vision, the artist exclaims “Now, the world is uniformly conscious of life. Now is the time to find the light and feel life.”
In these works, Nagare strives to release her complex emotions much like nature flows in an irreversible order. Her dramatic use of unmixed colors such as orange, pink, green, and blue brightens and darkens each space like fire and ice. Her biomorphic lines flow with smooth but unpredictable rhythm like water. Her brushstrokes on canvas are as light as a feather caressing skin. In Nagare’s painting, all these evocative elements coexist organically as in nature itself. Furthermore, she conceives her painting as a two-way mirror to invite the viewer to become immersed in the painted image. This effort has been evidenced especially in the public art projects she has produced for over a decade. From flat to spatial, from visual to corporeal, from intellectual to visceral, Nagare’s exuberant work expresses open-ended vistas, this time, literally in an “In Between” realm.