Shadows and Synchronicity

Noriko Ambe 

Feb 7 (Fri.) - Mar 7 (Sat.), 2020

MAHO KUBOTA GALLERY is proud to present Shadows and Synchronicity, the first solo exhibition by Noriko Ambe in four years, opening on February 7, 2020.

Ambe’s art is characterized by three-dimensional works created by using a razor-sharp blade to cut into white sheets of paper or pages from books, and then stacking hundreds of sheets together. Two decades have already passed since the artist began what she describes as cutting projects. Now she is embarking on a new challenge based on her present perspective.

In her early work, Ambe’s ideas took their initial inspiration from natural scenery and landscapes. Her early pieces, created by exploring an intuitive longing for art and originality, appear to have been formed by the artist focusing her mind on the loci where her own energy mapped to small aspects of the enormous forces of nature. Most of that work was imbued with a sense of awe towards nature and reverence towards the sublimity of art, with a simple, elegant language—expressed by the edges of stacked sheets of paper—often conveying an impression of meditativeness. In addition to the fundamental, communicative medium of paper and books, for many years the artist has employed steel cabinets made by Bisley as a supplementary medium. Ambe saw the frame structures and primal coloring of the cabinets as a means of clearly conveying her own artistic language, and has used them repeatedly in her art, making modifications to the cabinets by means such as disassembling them and arranging paper and books within them.

This exhibition of new works presents art based on a different system from previous exhibitions, albeit incorporating cabinets as an important element. Based on the new system, the show reveals provocative art created through the contrast, fusion, and resonance of the solid functionality of cabinet structures and frames with her work with paper, which seems to symbolize the flow of consciousness and movement of organic energy.

Making a temporary break from the meditative and emotional elements of her work to date, Ambe reinterprets the physical algorithms and unpredictability in the creative process, addressing her subject with a new resolve. As a result, she makes freely opening and closing forms while retaining a frame structure, creating associations within the frame between moving elements, like energy and the flow of time. Her perspective, which incorporates to some extent an overview of the world, is linked with the earth’s rotational axis in a powerful manner through a clear dynamic. This exhibition represents the beginning of an interesting turn in the development of the storyline that is Ambe’s artistic career.