Through two distinct practices, both artists create work that hovers along the edge of the material world and perception. Okubo’s tender images of lush landscapes animated by cartoonish details often conceal the fragile state of the female characters at the center of her work. Borrowing from the glossy and colorful aesthetics of advertising and repetitive motifs created by digital technology and mass media, the worlds depicted in Okubo’s paintings frequently deflect the viewer’s attention from the contradictions between beauty and femininity imposed on women and the vulnerabilities that are exacerbated by a need to conform.
Sakaizawa’s iterative process makes similar use of the canvas, as layers of paint, applied in dozens of identical gestures, build out beyond a two-dimensional surface. Each element of the work—title, color composition, shifts in tone and texture—reveal a body of thought much larger than any single painting.