Kumi Machida has become internationally recognised for her depictions of haunting biomorphic humans awakening from surreal dream-like states. Having its roots in the Japanese tradition of Nihonga painting in sumi ink on kumohada linen paper with limited colouring from mineral pigments, Machida’s practice combines the classical education with contemporary motifs to form her own unique style.
Her austere brushwork modulates from delicacy to intensity, bringing an unknown presence into sharp relief with sparing clarity. It renders a darker nuance to these apparently tranquil beings – layered fine lines sparsely define forms and voids, lending the works a deadpan absurdity. Machida’s explorations of human relationships, self-consciousness and social awareness are expressed in each line – a void drawn within the silence of contemplation. Yet abandoned clues remain, cryptic signifiers, so that perhaps these portrayals of dysfunction, brutality and displacement bring also a quilt of comfort after waking from a nightmare.
This project is in collaboration with the White Rainbow gallery in London with support from the Nishimura Gallery in Japan. Asia House looks forward to a major project with Kumi Machida to celebrate Asia House’s 20th year anniversary in 2016. This is a preview to that exhibition.
This preview show will be open at Asia House from 14 December – 14 January.