Michael Werner Gallery, East Hampton is pleased to present Maki Na Kamura, an exhibition of paintings by German-based Japanese artist Maki Na Kamura.
A traditional painter living in the present, Na Kamura describes her work as “Caspar David Friedrich plus Hokusai minus Romanticism minus Japonisme”. Na Kamura borrows from diverse sources, which she does not call inspiration but instead calls “materials for painting.” The compositions of traditional painters, such as Millet, Poussin, Signorelli, and Dürer, serve as blueprints, and the dances of contemporary K-Pop groups, such as ATEEZ, influence movement in her paintings. To Na Kamura, the reception of the viewer is important to the work. The artist elaborates, “If people look at a picture on the wall, and it doesn’t move, and they don’t hear anything, then, objectively speaking, they’re not in their right mind. As painters, we depend on the viewer’s peculiarity, on the power of the human imagination. Every painting is potentially a hymn to cultivated humanity.”
Maki Na Kamura (b. Osaka) has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Europe and in Japan. Solo museum exhibitions have been held at Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle, Belgium (2017); Osthaus Museum Hagen in Hagen, Germany (2017); Bilbao Arte – centro de arte contemporáneo in Bilbao, Spain (2015); and Oldenburger Kunstverein in Oldenberg, Germany (2014). Na Kamura was awarded the Falkenrot Prize in 2013. Her work is in the collection of Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France. Na Kamura lives and works in Berlin.
"At some point, we have all experienced the sensation of our eyes drifting into a sustained, contemplative state while regarding an urban landscape or garden. The state is almost one of looking through the elements themselves.
This contemplative, meditative eye even has the power to penetrate solid walls or canopies of branches. Ever since Goethe, this transition from seeing to perceiving has been known as ‘Schauen’ (to look, to watch) in the German language: "Zum Sehen geboren, Zum Schauen bestellt" (For Seeing, I Am Born, For Looking, Employed). How does seeing transform to perceiving when, for example, one is not looking at a natural landscape but, rather, at an image of it; namely a painting? These paintings already result from a transformation of seeing into perception. How can the view of a vast, infinite, natural world be captured in the comparatively tiny finitude of a painting?
. . .
Maki Na Kamura's landscape paintings prompt the viewer to think of the origin of pictorial motifs, to veritably 'think' the paintings; simply because one can only see what one knows."
- Bazon Brock
“External Images - Inner Landscapes: Maki Na Kamura’s Thought Painting”, 2014