Artist Statement

My approach focuses on creating an experiential work for the viewers to realize visual stimulation just like that of Italian Baroque in terms of spatial depth, dynamism, sensuous richness, drama and vitality.  In addition, my research and investigation in painting cover critique of painting and its pictorial presentation, based on the notion of painting being illusional and transient. I also question the boundary between pictorial presentation of philosophical prospect (abstract paintings) and philosophical assimilation of pictorial representation.  Consequently, the time, environment and society that we live in influence our perception and recognition.  Whether it is culturally, racially or politically biased, we certainly have different views and cognitions these days perhaps largely due to abundance of information available from the wide range of media for the condition and climate we face everyday.

The main focus in painting deals with the issue and notion of perception, assumption, conception and recognition.  After all, painting is basically illusion created by color and composition on two-dimensional surface. What we see may not be what we think it is.  This deception and illusion fascinates me, because that is exactly how we conduct ourselves.  We come to the conclusion from our observations (perception/comprehension), but our conclusion may be merely an assumption. What signifies our conclusion to be an objective truth? If what we see is just an illusion, what exactly are we perceiving?  That is very characteristic of painting that fascinates me.  This type illusion is not like trickery, but it is rather transient illusion.

My intention is to create seemingly static composition but ever expanding/compressing spatial depth to illustrate my philosophical prospect of abstract paintings as a tool especially with the shimmering effect of colors (metallic, iridescent, pearlescent or highly saturated colors) that are evident from multiple viewpoints.  In my figurative work, I am toying with the idea of pictorial representation (perception) as my philosophical assimilation with rather muted colors and low contrast; thus, the image will not appear immediately. Therefore, it creates the paradoxical dilemma of viewing practice: more pronounced image from afar vs. less pronounced image in the intimate distance.  Another words, in my figurative work, I am focusing on the interaction of perception/recognition with the contradiction of intimacy.

The work also reflects the notion of finish fetish typically falls in the tradition of west coast school of art making. Physically smooth and gloss finished surface are also incorporated to point out the contradictory aspects of the skilled craftsmanship and the absence of authorship as the work is merely an opportunity to experience. My figurative paintings have similar finish as well; however, the finish adds more of soulless and empty quality for its reflective on the surface along with much more muted colors to play against the idea behind.  Another important bearing in my work has to be the way the paint is exercised: I strongly believe that in the successful work, the paint transcends beyond just the paint and becomes the substance in which another reality is created. Lastly, my abstract paintings usually can not be photographed well in their true nature as none of above mentioned color palettes.  In this fashion, the intended interaction befalls only physically right in front of the viewers for its true experience. 

Ryuhei Rex Yuasa  2017


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