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Kazuko Inoue: Intersections

Allan Stone Gallery
113 East 90th Street, 212-987-4997
Upper East Side
May 6 - June 29, 2006
Reception: Saturday, May 6, 12 - 3 PM
Web Site


Inoue’s paintings explore the resonance between fields of color in a minimal geometric grid, emanating a Zen-like grace balancing abstract form, color and painterly surfaces.

Grounded firmly in the abstract movements of the 20th Century, Inoue’s work draws inspiration from a variety of sources-from Kazimir Malevich and Vasily Kandinsky to Henri Matisse and Fra Angelico, and therefore aptly reflects her own sentiment that “good painters understand the importance of clarity of composition and color”.

The basic grid structure of Inoue’s current work features varied colors and tones that play off each other, encouraging the eye to bounce around the canvas seeking the subtle or stark interplays. Each of at least four squares per canvas is built up from multiple layers of different acrylic paints that are resolved into one single shade on the surface. This technique provides a luminosity and depth that often appears to give the paintings a third dimension at close range. The squares are articulated by the obvious recesses or lack-of-paint that run between them-like thin canals-and which define the grid. At times these recesses are painted in a bright or high-keyed manner that contrasts with the tones promulgated in each individual square, other times they shimmer quietly, recede or hover, forcing the eye to vacillate between the squares themselves and the alternate cruciform structure of the grid.

The result of Inoue’s endeavor is a checkerboard synthesis of tones, shades, colors: bright rose-bud pinks and reds laugh together in one painting, bruised blues, plums and blacks brood in another; a sunshiny hopscotch of yellows ply their way across one of the largest recent works, whilst another large painting appears a meditation upon the fairest shades of skin-ecru, beige, off-white, yellow, pale pinks-themselves interjected by a virtuosic square of brilliant lipstick-red. Each painting seemingly chronicles a private event, a distinct mood, a single day, a complex emotion or a subtle feeling.

The smallest works (measuring 12×12 inches) have the intensity and expansive qualities of a Mondrian, holding their own on the wall and making a bold, tight statement in geometry. The larger works (measuring at least 60×60 inches) proffer a meditative quality not unlike that of a Rothko, where colors shimmer in choreography of juxtaposition and adjacency. The thick paint pushes beyond the edge of the canvas itself, (curling up and over), in an organic and completely attenuated fashion.

Inoue’s work bridges the territory between early abstraction and Suprematism with its focus on a higher spiritual plane, the expressive qualities of painting explored by mid-century Abstract Expressionism, and the importance of the grid and rational structure emphasized by the Minimalists. Her paintings are at once lyrical and austere, subtle and shocking. Seemingly simple and straightforward, upon closer visual inspection, they reveal themselves as veritable archaeological sites of color and process.

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