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Natsuki Machida

"Flowers and eyebrow"

8th November 2014- 29th November 2014

Hours: 12:00-19:00, closed Sunday, Monday, and public holiday

YOD Gallery will host a solo exhibition, "Flowers and eyebrow" by Natsuki Machida. This will be for the first time in 5 years since she had exhibition with us. We are delighted to see both her new challenges and already established characteristics of her pictorial style in this exhibition. 

The surface of paintings are filled to the brim with flowers, which are classic motif in Machida's artworks. For Machida, choosing flowers as a motif is not simple like pick up decorative patterns, but more complex personal choice. She delivers those flowers as means to carry out her internal energy to be exposed to the outside world. Flowers are painted as if it is still growing, eating away artist's energy during the process of creation. Those growing flowers let viewers experience the compelling visualisation of her creative energy. 

Another characteristic of Machida's artworks are choice of colours which are highly saturated. She often uses pink with high saturation as a base colour for her painting, which one tends to think of sweetness or associate with girly images, namely, Kawaii. The definition of Kawaii, according to Wikipedia is "lovable, cute, or adorable, the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture." In this context, Machida's artworks are easily thought that purpose of painting is to represent such lovable images. However, when you look into details, sweetness is exaggerated and overdramatised by the intense coloration and densely placed motifs. Such elements are creating almost scary overwhelming feel which seems to show slightly twisted view of lovable sweetness, perhaps creating darkness in her work despite of the bright overall look. The energy of saturated colours approaching the viewers are as if it is an explosion of her feminine self triggered by some stimulation from the outside world. The ornate nature of her works are influenced by seeing Takarazuka Revue, which are based in Machida's home town, in her childhood, reading dreamy comics for girls, Sho jo manga and lavish Yuzen-kimono. Thse are always firing her imagination and reference can be seen in her paintings. 

We already mentioned flowers, but not eyebrow, which is the other part of exhibition title. It appears for the first time in Machid's artworks although she has been painting faces for long time. For Machida, this was a change. She says "Eyebrow always expresses the feeling or thought of figures I paint and I didn't wanted them to be seen as they have such things." She wanted to avoid the viewers to imagine thoughts behind the painting through faces of figures and let them to be free from simple interpretation. However, in this exhibition, she had drawn series of portraits, off course, with eyebrow. This initiates her change in attitude toward what she wants to represent in her artworks. She became more active to suggest her thoughts in the artwork. The medium she chose for this series is pastel, acrylic paint and paper, which are more suitable method to draw intuitively or to capture instantaneous images. Again, the exaggeration is apparent and that can be seen not only in the colouring, but also in the extremely enlarged eyes and shining stars in them. Those faces intensely gases at viewers and the intensity of images remind us of hysteria. One might say Machida had opened her mind to the viewers via artworks. 

Seemingly Kawaii paintings are actually filled to the brim with extraordinary energy of the artist, Machida. They invites you in with pretty appearance and show you slightly distorted world from the author Machid's point of view.

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