Ricca Kawai “Weight of Light”

nap gallery

poster for Ricca Kawai “Weight of Light”

This event has ended.

Ricca Kawai has created a new form of expression in which light and shadow coexist and interact when illuminating a transparent pictorial material/support. She refers to these works a “photoskiagraphia,” after the Greek terms “photo” (light), “skia” (shadow) and “graphia” (picture). Meanwhile, there exist astronomical phenomena in the world that have mass but cannot be optically observed. Such so-called “dark matter” tells us that the world is not necessarily composed only of things we can see. Diving right into these findings, Kawai takes as her theme the challenge of making this invisible realm visible.
Working with epoxy resin since 2003, in a 2013 self-portrait she used “water droplets” of transparent resin applied to a window pane to allow raindrops to bring out the form, which then acted as a lens to cast both light and shadow onto the wall. Kawai’s artistic process recalls Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History” (vol. 35), wherein the traced silhouette of a lover killed in battle becomes a painting.
Shadow drawings, or in Kawai’s terminology skiagraphie, likewise bear relation to the calotype “shadow fixing” technique of early photography. What Kawai seems to be seeking via the transparency of resin as a medium is not the simple reality that even translucence produces shadows, but rather to show how various contingent aspects — the thickness or clarity of the medium — effect a transformation. Not in the given visible image as we might expect, but an experience of generating a transformed image out of an unimaginable unseen realm.



from January 31, 2018 to February 24, 2018


Ricca Kawai



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