Naomi Okubo


“I am interested in the relationship between oneself and others or society and a contradiction that happen among the relationships. Food, clothing and housing are basic for human living. Today, a lot of material flood in advanced countries such as Japan and the U.S. Although people do not need to concern about how they can get food and where they can find out housing, they focus on what they should wear in and how others see their appearance everyday. With the changes over time, people have generated a society that visual images like mass media and fashion are significant. It has caused many social issues. Especially, “fashion” is an important tool for transmitting the images. In recent my works, I focus the society through the fashion.

In my first works 2006~2010, I depicted anxious feelings and self-contradictions that people feel when they have connection with others. I think that people are not always honest with each other. In my adolescence, I had felt fear what others thought about me. As a result, I had been confused how I should relate to others. Through this experience, I have showed plural self-portraits in my works. This idea is that I could escape the fears that came from the relationship with others if all people in the world were myself. My expression was based this abnormal teased feeling.

オバケ-アクリル-綿布-パネル-227-x-158-mm-monster-acrylic-cotton-and-panelSince 2010, I have had to reconsider my paintings that were the means to express my feeling and thought. I considered that I had to separately think my own expression from my direct experiences. Then I adopted ready-made images from fashion advertisements or interior magazines into my paintings. It was an attempt for me to understand paintings composition, not understanding of its contents. During the experiments that adopted various decorative motifs in my work, I discovered that decoration worked as a camouflage. For example, the decorative motif was conspicuous in the beginning of a work, but the first object had being hidden by adding to paint in it. Using the decoration, I concealed portrayed characters and made allover and flat screens. Through these challenges, I could get involved in historical painters such as Vuillard, Matisse, and Pollock.

I still present all characters in my work as myself and adopt ready-made images. I tried to understand our societies through putting myself on the ideal image and playing in the situation. By these reflections, I got more interested in fashion. I believe that fashion have two conflicted aspects: one side is to assert oneself: the other side is to harmonize oneself to the society. People try to harmonize with others and the society for smooth communication. However, the harmonization sometimes produces contradiction between the different images that they have and others do. Thus, people stress themselves out by thinking of it.
The excess admiration and adoration for ideal image ties to social problem over the fashion’s range: mental disorder, cosmetic surgery, and shopping dependence and related issues such as prostitution.

Now 2012, the forces on my paintings have been returning to the contents.
I am still interested in the composition, however I lost my way what I should depict in order to comprehend the composition. So, I came back to my first motivation to paint; how I should connect to our societies. While I work on producing new paintings, I rethink this theme.

The anxiety from the relationship has never gone because we cannot live without others and the situations and the relations always change. I regard the repeated pattern in decoration as the symbol of the desire to eternal that is never granted to people. By using the symbol in my works, I have tired to give my full attention how people face to others and the society as well as the contradiction and social issues.

2012 Naomi Okubo


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