“Displacement and parallel transmission are the respect of coexistence, as well as the essence of self-realization. When we look at the sense of distance and uncertainty, the nature of communication may slowly emerge. At this exact moment, I could vaguely see the rainbow in the grey area of communication…”
by Etsu Egami.
Whitestone is pleased to present Rainbow, an exhibition of new paintings by Japanese artist Etsu Egami. On view at the gallery’s Taipei location, this exhibition marks her debut solo presentation in Taiwan and will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by Nobuyuki Senzoku, Iain Robertson and Chen Kuang-Yi.
Egami is widely celebrated for her visually captivating compositions that bring together the traditions of figurative painting and illusionism into an entirely new kind of aesthetic experience. As a young Japanese artist, she studied oil painting in the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, where she began developing he own unique style of figurative painting that was distinct from socialist realist aesthetic of her instructor, Liu Xiaodong.
Egami’s paintings are richly coloured, uncomplicated compositions that contain a series of portraits that are simplified as translucent brushstrokes. They often hint at broader narratives — seemingly connecting with glitch, an interference of computer data — yet they are abstract and frequently contain a disparate and overlapping form. Though her art is highly refined and executed with considerable technical skill, Egami stresses the intuitive, deeply personal of how she works. As the artist notes, “The language of rainbow strongly resonates with my present state of mind. Therefore, the rainbow has become my symbolic language of communication, which has gradually shown in my paintings.” The title that the artist names for her works are as well a game she plays with the audience, in which the unconventional black and brown were added to her palette, adding further layers of complexity and intrigue to the viewing experience.
Rainbow introduces thirty-seven new paintings by Egami, which includes two series of work Rainbow and Artist — that continue the artist’s exploration of figuration, linear imagery, and ambiguous nature of visual art, while also suggesting new directions of her practice. Notably, while Egami regularly depicts her subject and structure in direct space and configurations, in some of the larger works, such as Rainbow-2020-078 (2020), the elongated head of a child is formed with thick linear strokes, challenging the boundary between figurative and abstract painting. The works also testify to the range of colours Egami applies in her picture. Several paintings use a highly restricted palette, while others contain expansive arrays of colours. One canvas, Artist-K (2020), featuring a figure who appears to look to the right side at a deformed manner, is rendered almost entirely in the burgundy shade of red with complimentary green colour.
Etsu Egami was born in 1994 in Chiba. Living and working in Tokyo, she is a current PhD student at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Since 2019, her works have been represented by Whitestone and Your Name? (2019) marked her first solo show at the gallery’s Tokyo location. Egami is the recipient of numerous awards including Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan Outstanding Artist (2020) and 16th Chiba City Art and Culture New Artist Award (2018). She is also the finalist of Award of Contemporary Art Foundation in Japan (2020) and Sovereign Asian Art Prize (2019). Her works have been exhibited in various cities, including London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, and Tokyo. Institutions that have collected the paintings of Egami in their prominent collection include CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow), Yuan Dian Art Museum (Beijing), Tree Art Museum (Beijing), E-Land Foundation (Seoul).