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About Reiko Kubota

Reiko Kubota - Beyond the Surface

Reiko Kubota's paintings locate us within a space that is both upon and beyond the surface. Exploring new methods of constructing forms and ways of inventing with materials deeply rooted in the history of painting, Kubota creates images which, while non-referential, are also based on the experiences of things seen. The work is a crystallization of the observed world presented in forms which seek to distil the essence of those visual stimuli.

Colour is related to materials, the rich palette derived from the earth, organic materials and semi precious stones which compose the pigments that are the basis for the paintings. What we see is the surface reflection of light, a spectrum reflected by the varying qualities of the pigments used to create the images, some course and crystalline, others fine, smooth and matt; all evoking a presence and sense of immediacy. Reiko Kubota seeks to build on the intrinsic qualities and properties of these pigments so no mixing of colours is involved. Rather, the accretion of colour through the building of each image in varying degrees of complexity, with fragments of space defined through the pigments chosen resulting in the building of each image over time. And it requires time to live with and appreciate the complex and seemingly changing surface as the eye scans each image.

While often intimate in scale these paintings can appear to traverse expanses of space or invoke a sensation of depth and a three-dimensional quality to the forms contained. Recent works play with this sense of location, spanning more than one panel ('Light and Dusk'), painted from both behind and in front of the stretched paper ('Coloured Shades'), inventing with the frame as a part of the image ('SkyTree').

Light and Dusk, 2005
Light and Dusk, 2005

Sky Tree
Sky Tree, 2004

The reflection of light and its location upon and within the picture surface is invented with in the use of gold leaf. This is a constructive use of the metal, imparting another dimension to the reading of the images, both reinforcing and breaking down our sense of where the surface really exists and the nature of light as contained within a painting.


By day the paintings change their character with varying light; by night the pigments and gold resonate to a different tune, reflecting an almost other worldly presence in the moon's glow ('Yukimi'). The use of oil glazes in some images, or across certain elements within a piece ('Order & Dissonance'), intensifies the perception of colours and offers further layers of reading, depth and luminosity.

Yukimi
Yukimi, 2005

There is also a play with order and dissonance, allusions to insights gained through early polyphonic and 20th century music. Resonances are also to be seen with woven form and the elaborate tessellations to be found in Islamic art, expanding our sense and comprehension of space ('In Being'). These paintings offer a view into a world beyond the surface; an insight into the stimulation and invention of an artist born in the East and living in the West.

In Being
In Being, 2003