Artist statement （ＥＮＧＬＩＳＨ）
The theme of my work is ‘interlaced scenes’. My artistic endeavors and journeys have taken me from hometown Kyoto to Tokyo, Germany, and various residence programs in different counties and cities. In each town, I have seen and experienced the ever-changing scenes in lives of people and their cultures. My art represents my innermost emotions connected to those experiences, manifested in the form of colors and shapes. Away from my home in Japan, I often wondered where I truly belonged or where I was going. There were anxiety and loneliness, but also contentment within them. These emotions, in addition to the changing seasons of my surroundings, have always been put into my artwork. In foreign lands, or in ‘blissful solitude’ as my exhibition was titled, I have continued to be creative and productive. In 2014, I found myself based in Kyoto again, with a crowd of familiar people, whose language and culture already ingrained in me. This was unlike my days of ‘blissful solitude’, although my soul continued to question if it truly belonged there. My former style involved simply pouring my emotions onto a canvas just as I saw and felt. Since then, the process of scraping off the colors has been introduced, as a means to reflect on the past. Not only that, but by inserting new colors on top of what has been shaved, the present time is now added. The act of scraping into the ‘places I had been’ reveals an access to the past, into which I layer new colors and shapes, thereby interlacing the scenes of the past and present.
I often reflect upon “my own existence in the society”, contemplating and confronting myself and my own work. Neither changes in environment nor circumstances will prevent me from being artistically productive. Wherever I am placed at any given time becomes my ‘home’. Then, in the process of searching for a new ‘home’, new colors are added, in order to interconnect my past, present, and future.
As I recollect on my impressions from particular place of the past, more than ten shades of the oil paints get layered on top of each other. Then, they get shaved and scraped into different shapes, later to be fused with even more colors. During this process, unexpected tone can also emerge from the layers. The resulting coloration is diverse, from the colors that become more vivid as they are dried and scraped, to unique mixture of paints that are not completely dry, and even different thickness and texture.
As my style involves expression only through the means of colors and shapes, creating one color is an extremely crucial process. Trusting in my own intuition with an undivided attention, a new color is made. Only when I am convinced of the resulting color, does it go on the canvas. The world of innumerable colors never ceases to fascinate me.
translator: Yuta Sugano
The paintings of Mamiko Takayanagi are abstract, but somehow, one feels there is a story in the painting and something real to see. They are in fact abstract color forms that are organized chromatically to give a sense of harmony creating an image that makes one forget the formalist organization. The motivation or vision of the paintings is the transcendent quality that makes the work magical. A good painter doesn't let you see all the work, instead let's the work lead the viewer to the vision. The paintings observe all the classic rules of painting that have existed for centuries. They are flat and spatial. One color is dependent on the other colors. There is internal proportion, both compositionally and chromatically. They provide the viewer with the visual vocabulary to understand the work.
This does not explain why the paintings of Takayanagi are original. I still believe originality is one measure for judging works of art. I think there are of course many elements that give her work its special quality. Her color sense is unique and combined with the flat application of paint and the feeling of space achieves a specific element of time. Normally one doesn't speak of time in color painting. It is the attention to the surface of the painting in contrast to the image of the finished painting that creates a tension that makes time relevant to looking at the work. The paintings are slow and fast at the same time. This makes me accept the painting. And this makes the painting present. One can't ask for more.