I think of people as plants.
Think about people who are squishy lumps.


The Whitestone Gallery is honored to present the exhibition “Three In One:Art of WATABIKI.” Born in 1958 in Tokyo, Japan, Nobuko WATABIKI studies printing at Musashino Art School. WATABIKI has been residing in Hamburg, Germany, since 2008, where she engages in her artistic pursuits. Initially using photo collages in her creative process, WATABIKI gradually developed her distinctive style by incorporating Japanese paper, textiles, and oil pastels. The artist, rooted in self-awareness, explores the dynamics of human relationships, extending to the interdependence of human and plant life. WATABIKI has been nominated for the prestigious VOCA Exhibition for two consecutive years (1997, 1998), considered a gateway to success for artists. Her exhibitions have garnered acclaim not only in Japan but also in Europe, particularly Germany, and countries in South America. Since 2011, the artist has been part of the “TEGAMI Project,” writing letters to citizens of Fukushima, providing them with courage and support.

The exhibited works also reflect Nobuko WATABIKI’s contemplation in the aftermath of the pandemic. Watabiki believes that as we contemplate how to reconnect with others, we also need to consider the different facets of the self. This includes not only the self as we know it but also the self as perceived by others and the ineffable aspects of the self. This is also reflected in the English title of the exhibition, “Three In One” (with the Japanese title being “Mitsu Domoe,” representing the interactive state of the three). WATABIKI’s artwork, simple yet rich in imagination, possesses a strong texture and tactile quality, inviting contemplation. With delicately elegant and sometimes humorous depictions, the artist unfolds gentle associations within seemingly calm observations, exploring the distance between “Man and Plants,” how to “Draw near,” or even “Becoming the flowers.” These images enable viewers to establish connections, engage in a dialogue with others and the self, and then, like plants and flowers, extend and transform.

Nobuko WATABIKI’s art is the result of prolonged self-questioning and liberation, as discussed in her book Curious Hands: Freeing myself and becoming a painter (2008), which touches on six themes: My Position, Emotions, Sense of Void, Clenching Teeth, Eyes as a Symbol of Determination, and the relationship to Others in society. These themes can help in understanding WATABIKI’s artistic perspective. We invite you to enter the world of “Three In One: Art of WATABIKI,” quietly feel, and gradually cultivate a rich and intriguing sense of self. Her works was collected by Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts (Tochigi), Collection Reinking (Germany), and Japan Energy Cooperation, etc.

watabiki's art works

Draw near-3, Acrylic on canvas, 120.0 x 150.0 cm, 2023

watabiki's art works

Man and Plants, Acrylic on canvas, 120.0 x 150.0 cm, 2023

watabiki's art works

You Were Always Smiling-4, Acrylic on canvas, 70.0 x 100.0 cm, 2021


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