Asuka Ohsawa at Nancy Margolis

Bullet Shih Sep, 2012 0
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Askua Ohsawa at Nancy MargolisAsuka Ohsawa’s Space Invaders: Genesis at Nancy Margolis presents lovely series of gouache on paper works.  The Genesis paintings are the third installment in the series of an imaginary alien species and represent the mythology and origins of the species.  The press release states,

Born in California to Japanese parents and living in the United States, Asuka Ohsawa has been painting a series of invented stories called Space Invaders since 2010. The stories, painted in three installments over a period of several years reveal a world rich in fantasy and mythology, and closely allied to the tradition of Manga. Ohsawa’s work, informed by her passion for storytelling, is rooted not only in her personal family history but also in the culture of Japan. Encouraged by her family Ohsawa would write short stories and comic books as she grew up. Influenced also by medieval “emaki” or scroll paintings and “ukiyo-e” prints that were mass produced in the Edo period (1603-1868) Ohsawa has joined the contemporary world of manga and anime with her own distinct style. Uniting elements and perspective from both the East and West, the series is meticulously executed, boldly painted with brilliant gouache colors on paper, and reminiscent of traditional Japanese paintings.

While is see the clear manga influences, aside from the obvious octopus reference from Hokusai’s famous erotic ukiyo-e print,

Hokusai ukiyo-e masterpiece

I see much heavier influences from further west on the Asian continent.  The stylized flames in most the works are much more evocative of  those of traditional Tibetan Thangka paintings than those found in ukiyo-e prints.   Also, much of the mythological imagery and  composition appears to be more aligned to that of Indian miniatures from the Rajput and Mysore schools than that of the Ukiyo-e masters.

Tibetan Thangka

However, regardless of the sources of her inspiration, Ohsawa’s work is visually compelling with crisp, clean colors, patterns, and composition.


Asuka Ohsawa Space Invaders: Genesis 2012 September 6 – October 13 at Nancy Margolis

Photos: Sujin Lee

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