Manika Nagare was born in Osaka, Japan in 1975 and raised in Kagawa, Japan. Through her multicolored and multi-layered oil painting, she seeks to explore and visualize a realm of sensations evoked from ephemeral moments and events in both the human and natural world. Her practice also includes numerous public art projects, for which she closely work with curators, designers, architects, and community boards. Nagare contributes her paintings to textile design as well as costumes for a dance performance.
Her new body of work in this upcoming exhibition was influenced by recent personal events, as her work has always been her visual response to real phenomena in everyday life. Two years ago, Nagare’s father, an important sculptor, died at the age of 95. He was a Kamikaze corps survivor and Nagare always felt she wouldn’t be here if he had completed his mission. When the end of his life was near, she remembers seeing an intense light emitted by him and feeling how exquisitely the plants around him were spreading their leaves.
In these works, Nagare strives to release her complex emotions much like nature flows in an irreversible order. Her dramatic use of unmixed colors such as orange, pink, green, and blue brightens and darkens each space like fire and ice. Her biomorphic lines flow with smooth but unpredictable rhythm like water. Her brushstrokes on canvas are as light as a feather caressing skin. In Nagare’s painting, all these evocative elements coexist organically as in nature itself. Furthermore, she conceives her painting as a two-way mirror to invite the viewer to become immersed in the painted image. This effort has been evidenced especially in the public art projects she has produced for over a decade. From flat to spatial, from visual to corporeal, from intellectual to visceral, Nagare’s exuberant work expresses open-ended vistas, this time, literally in an “In Between” realm.