Miwa Ogasawara 

Oct 5 (Thu.) - Nov 5 (Sun.), 2023

MAHO KUBOTA GALLERY presents a solo exhibition of works by Miwa Ogasawara from October 5. The exhibition features a series of seven works titled Himmel (German for both “sky” and “heaven”) and other new works.

Miwa Ogasawara has long explored themes that will be familiar sights for most of us, such as quiet rooms, curtains swaying in the wind, and scenes from the seaside or deep in a forest. Her signature technique is to apply bluish-grey tones of oil paint to the canvas in exquisitely light brush strokes to create works with a minimalist feel. Using only a limited range of colors within the expanse of the canvas, but adding accents with nuanced hues of white, purple, or red, her works capture shadows, glints, and reflections of light to express intangible motifs such as the human mind and streams of consciousness in a way that prompts contemplation.

Following a significant loss last year, Ogasawara has found herself gazing at the sky every day. This exhibition focuses on what people look for in the infinite expanse of the heavens. Ogasawara looks up to the sky paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, William Turner, Claude Monet, Gerhard Richter and other masters, and decided that she was finally mature enough as an artist to tackle such a monumental subject. The series of seven large works resulting from her endeavors depict the sky in different seasons and times, including the sky at dawn, light filtering through gaps in the clouds, a rainbow sky, a calm, quiet sky, and the sky just before dusk. Brought together as a coherent series, they convey the impression of a rich and expansive world, akin to the complex sonorities of a classical symphony, while at the same time hinting at an oriental sensibility appreciative of a state of nothingness, free from all constraints.

Born in Kyoto, Ogasawara spent her teens in the USA before eventually settling in Germany. She studied painting at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg under Norbert Schwontkowski and Werner Büttner. In her studio in Hamburg, she paints grey-based monotone oil paintings depicting tranquil scenes of everyday life. Although her practice is rooted in figurative art, she infuses her works with streams of consciousness and philosophical concepts expressed in evanescent forms such as light, architectural space, the texture of glass, and seasonal changes in nature, demonstrating an originality that is highly acclaimed. Her works are in the collections of museums around the world, including the Centre Pompidou (France), the Collection of Contemporary Art of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Arario Museum (South Korea), and the Yu-Hsiu Museum of Art (Taiwan). This year, in addition to a solo exhibition at the Yu-Hsiu Museum, she held a two-person exhibition with her late mentor Norbert Schwontkowski in Kiel and a dialogue-style two-person exhibition with Albrecht Schäfer in Berlin.