solo exhibition “Dramatic Moments”

ドラマチック Dramatic 2012 oil, glitter on canvas 227.5 × 364.0 cm ©Tomoko Nagai

In Tomoko Nagai’s works, various motifs, animals such as bear, cat and horse, colorful trees and mushrooms, young girls or imaginary figures, are arranged in backgrounds of forest or room, as if they were theatrical settings. They are like individual scenes that belong to one magnificent imaginary world, filled with numerous images she can never draw enough, Nagai says. Those motifs are scattered with exquisite balance in Nagai’s works. Each work is enriched with a sense of contentment, and seems to address a condensed world while sharing a unique sense of space. Nagai believes that work is a result of coincidence and spontaneity. She does not draft before painting but selects the suitable materials that match most with the subjects. On top of oil, acrylic, watercolor, color pencils or pastel, she also produces sculptures such as stuffed animals and installations consisting of various materials. The diversity in matiere and material and in levels of intensity becomes each element and seems to give rise to a whole music like different rhythms do. Nagai’s works do not carry any specific narratives. By feeling this music, however, we would realize that we enter inside of her world of stories. Perhaps, it is because the narrative is not only an internal or private conception but also an expression of universal sensibility that is open-minded and beyond cultural boundaries.

In daily life, we might encounter some moments that ordinary sceneries magically become dramatic scenes in a sudden. The happenings are like fate. It is a serendipitous conjunction of various elements, such as the time, the season, even our moods. For example, the moment when leaves fall all together because of an unexpected wind and being surrounded by yellow. While producing the works, I wish I could condense those precious and dramatic moments in pictures along with my wishes and ideals, and form an exhibition as if it is a vacuum pack packing.
— Tomoko Nagai

The above is what Nagai states about this exhibition. Around 10 paintings and 15 drawings of new works, which depict these miracle moments, will be on view in this show. Besides paintings and drawings, Nagai makes installations in which the space is like the realized world from her works. In the venue consisting two gallery spaces, Nagai will use one to conduct her installation.

Moreover, Nagai has been involved in a project, in which she painted the walls of the swimming pool in a nursery school located in Shichigahama town, Miyagi, one of the stricken areas caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami last year in Japan. The nursery building, which is currently being constructed, has been fully funded and supported by Singapore Red Cross. It is also a design by a Japanese emerging architect, Ippei Takahashi, which won the top prize in the proposal competition for Toyama Nursery in Shichigahama Town in 2011. (The construction will be completed in March 2013). The models and drawings for the project and two of the drafts Nagai drew for the swimming pool will also be presented in this exhibition, considering the relationship with Singapore.

Artist Profile

Tomoko Nagai

In Tomoko Nagai’s works, various motifs including animals such as bears, cats, and horses; young girls and imaginary figures; and trees and mushrooms are scattered against backgrounds of forest or rooms which look precisely as if they were theater sets. In all of her works there is a characteristic sense of fulfilment, as if expressing a condensed form of our world. Nagai does not draw before painting, and she uses different media depending on the subject: oil, acrylic, watercolor, color pencil, and pastel, as well as sculptures and installations. This results in various matiere and levels of intensity that seem to have become elements and rhythms, together constituting one music. Nagai’s works do not carry any specific narratives. By feeling this music, we somehow enter unawares into her world of stories.

Tomoko Nagai was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1982. She graduated from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in 2006, majoring in Oil Painting. She currently lives and works in Tokyo. She has held five
solo exhibitions with Tomio Koyama Gallery, and a solo exhibition at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. She has also participated in “VOCA 2010” at The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, as well as international exhibitions such as “Future Pass – From Asia to the World” Collateral Event of the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia (Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana, Venice, 2011), and other group exhibitions in Seoul, Grenoble, and Berlin. She also worked with a project in which she painted the walls of the swimming pool in a nursery school called Toyama nursery school (designed by Takahashi Ippei Office) located in Shichigahama town, Miyagi, one of the stricken areas caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The nursery building completed in 2013 was fully funded and supported by Singapore Red Cross. Her works have been included in public collections including The Takahashi Collection (Japan), The Olbricht Collection (Germany), The Zabludowicz Collection (UK) and The JAPIGOZZI Collection (US/ Switzerland).