Stop into the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA
) this month for a small but stunning show of figurative expressionist paintings by alumni Randell Sims
and Takashi Kato
. These talented young painters work with expressive bravura and detailed construction. Both walk a line between intellectual composition and emotional truth.
PNCA has long been a stronghold of figurative expressionism, in part due to the presence of local expressive powerhouse Lucinda Parker. Read more about her presence in the community here: Lucinda
In Vaporous Neuro Discord 1-4
, Takashi Kato manipulates dripped paint by tilting the canvas to create an intricate grid. Responding to this grid, Kato searches for figurative imagery within his compositions. The agonized figures appear entangled in their surroundings, unable to extricate themselves from the net which vaporizes their bodies and binds them into their environment.
Kato's approach is complex and engaging. He combines the random process of dripping paint with expressive paint handling and a strong grasp of the figure. The best part of this work is that Kato is adept at knowing when to hold off, and the pieces are exquisitely balanced between expressive power, the imagery of the figure, and the drip grid.
Kato's work is as rooted in West Coast figurative expressionism as it is in Anime. It seems especially related to the Anime Citizen Kane
, whose subject matter is the agony of dissolution of the self in the face of inscrutable power.
Where Kato's color palette is mostly neutral tones, Randell Sims' color scintillates with vibrant primary and secondary complements. Of the two, Sims' touch is more forceful and lyrical. Sims' Self Portrait
is limited to blue, yellow, black and white. The image is confrontationally composed, and the raw, assertive brushwork reduces the figure to planes and disrupted surfaces. There is an immediate connection between Sims' paintings and the California artists, Manuel Neri and Joan Brown. Link to articles here: Joan Brown
, Manuel Neri
Although it may be true that Sims' style has some further development ahead before it is fully individuated from these influences, his virtuoso paint handling is something to see, and like Kato, he balances perfectly between intelligent composition and stunning bravura.
Sims is the more emotionally charged, and many of the pieces are pure visual music. In Swimming
, the figurative elements are almost lost in lyrical blue and orange color harmonies and textural, moving brushwork.
Take the time stop into PNCA and search out this small but powerful show!
Takashi Kato, Randell Sims
August 4th - 31st, 2005
Pacific Northwest College of Art
1241 NW Johnson St. Portland, OR, 97209