Junko Abe’s frescos are surprisingly deceptive, for first glance at the invite, it seemed like a water colour exhibition, so one was surprised to encounter frescos upon entering the art space.
Gallery Fuji is an interesting space that is tucked away in the heart of Osaka, it’s a very comfortable gallery to relax in and examine art, for it is downstairs in a basement just off the main street, and more or less just slightly bigger than the average urban Australian two car garage. Abe’s artworks hang very well within the space, easily enabling the audience to peruse the images at leisure.
Often in Japan and not being able to read Japanese, artworks seem to take longer to view, thus making the control of the written word, obsolete to the image, there is then the necessity to forensically examine the each piece. This experience is something akin to what the British sculptor Henry Moore stated here:
All art should have a certain mystery and should make demands on the spectator. Giving a sculpture or a drawing too explicit a title takes away part of that mystery so that the spectator moves on to the next object, making no effort to ponder the meaning of what he has just seen. Everyone thinks that he or she looks but they don't really, you know.
Well not having access to the titles of the artworks, there is now only vision that can relay the sensations of what is being seen. For example; the large single fresco is a delight to scrutinize, for it has a sensitive range of coarse textures that are brushed in, others are smoothed with very sensitive undulating flat areas, that have been pushed around with a spatula just ever so slightly, others spatial areas within the image have long thin linear gouges of various widths, accompanying these sensations is the bleeds/brushed in hues ranging from yellow/burnt ochres, blues and payne/blackish greys. Another interesting issue about this work that one has not seen often in Frescos is the sensation of movement and it works very well
The best example in this sensation of movement is within the large triptych and the sensation of this energy, forces the eye to move from panel to panel, it is a successful as a group of paintings.
Junko Abe - Triptych
These understandings of Fresco by Abe stems from her career as an architect, for in Japan few artists have the luxury of being a full time artists, so many of them work in tandem with there art and jobs, this is difficult balance but they seem to do this very successfully, as on show here at Gallery Fuji and one has only admiration for there determination, for work in Japan is seriously hard.
These works on show here by Abe, reveal the visual delights that can be had through her manipulation of an old painting methodology with a very idiosyncratic vision (memory upon reflection). So if in Osaka please visit Gallery Fuji and enjoy the Fresco’s of Junko Abe.
Link to Gallery Fuji: http://artnavi.net/