Katsura Okada, detail shot of installation, 2011
Katsura Okada draws inspiration from “all experiences – happiness, sadness, anger, pain, beauty and ugliness all influence my work and mature my mind, to be expressed perhaps ten years later.” The Re-Origin: After the Last First specifically contemplates the effects of nuclear weapons and radioactive contamination on Japan. Playing with light, color, and textural sensitivity, Okada describes The Re-Origin: After the Last First as a kind of prayer for the health and safety of the people of Japan and people all over the world, and as expressive of her hopes – that the first use of nuclear weapons in warfare will be the last “first.”
Okada’s ‘prayer’ is abstract, simplistic, and organic, and yet it is vocal. Her work is heavily influenced by sound, as the artist states “sounds create a picture in my mind.” The catalogue of Okada’s latest work includes an essay by curator, art historian, and critic Susanne Altmann. In her essay, Altmann notes the visual rhythm, vibrant coloring, and meditative potential of Okada’s work: “Katsura Okada composes her minimalist yet colourful wall structures in deliberate repetitions. Made of small rolls of rice paper, the works reveal Okada’s roots in Japanese visual culture and its contemplative qualities. Yet her rhythmic arrangements also evoke synaesthetic experiences and make us “feel the sound” of a piece with our eyes.” As Okada explores boundaries and relationships of line, space, color, sight, sound, and feeling, she invites the viewer also to explore their own capacity for perception and internalization.