Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present Somewhere Around There, a New York debut solo exhibition of work by a Dallas-based artist Nishiki Sugawara-Beda from her latest series KuroKuroShiro, “black-black-white” in Japanese. The series title is indicative of her process using Sumi, a traditional East Asian ink, to compose painted worlds in which to be immersed and commune with an inner, quieter spirit.
Born and raised in Japan, Sugawara-Beda was steeped in a poetic Japanese aesthetic valuing symbolic interpretation over direct representation. It is from this lyrical, and oftentimes philosophical, Japanese sensibility that Sugawara-Beda creates. Employing the landscape as a conceptual framework, her works negotiate the tension between light and dark, hard and soft, abstraction and figuration. Throughout this exhibition, the artist also considers the relation of past to present, influenced by traditional Japanese scroll paintings that imply time relative to space. And yet, her works transcend place and time, offering no clear suggestion of a narrative or relationship between forms.
Somewhere Around There features works in varying scale from small, intimate paintings on handmade gesso-covered panels to hanging scroll works on paper in the Kakejiku tradition. In Sumi ink with its distinctly rich and subtle tones, the monochromatic compositions are minimal in color and confounding in form, encouraging reflection, introspection, and meditation. And as the viewer encounters and navigates the unknown, new possibilities emerge. In the process, the viewer is transported “there,” referenced to in the exhibition’s title, a portal in the material providing access to the spiritual.
Nishiki Sugawara-Beda is a Japanese-American visual artist based in painting and installation. She draws upon her Japanese heritage to explore themes related to culture, language, and spirituality rooted in Zen Buddhism. Connecting across space and time, she experiments in ancient Japanese materials and techniques including Sumi ink, Kakejiku landscapes, and rice paper, to merge them with abstract and expressive forms familiar to the modern Western aesthetic. Sugawara-Beda has exhibited her work in venues including the Spartanburg Art Museum (SC), Morris Graves Museum of Art (CA), Dennos Museum (MI) and Amos Eno Gallery (NY). Publications include New American Paintings, Expose Art Magazine, AEQAI, Athenaeum Review and the London Post. Awards including a Seed Grant, Diversity Fellow Program, International Enhancement Grant, Idaho Arts Fellowship, Sam Taylor Fellowship, and Tusen Takk Foundation residency have supported her artistic research. In addition to national conferences, including the College Art Association, Sugawara-Beda also gives keynote speeches and workshops to cultural organizations including Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc., OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, and Business Council for the Arts, Dallas. See You There, a full-color art book surveying her work from 2012 to 2020, is published by Execute Magazine in 2021.