Exhibition: Mikiko Hara - “Blind Letter”
June 6 – July 21
The Cohen Amador Gallery is pleased to announce the first U.S. exhibition of the work of Japanese photographer Mikiko Hara. Sentient and contemplative, Hara’s color imagery of both people and places she passes in her native Japan arrests the viewer between feelings of levity and of foreboding. The aesthetic that she brings to her images imbues them with this tense balance, characteristic of daily life in the security states of the twenty first century.
Though stylized along the lines of the, now, well established snapshot aesthetic that arose after the second World War, Hara’s photographs remain contemporary and fresh. They simultaneously present the non-threatening surface of things while keenly alluding to the underlying tensions that exist just below these superficial realities, unnerving us and often unnerving the subjects in the photographs. Unlike the often humorous sentimental stylings of earlier snapshot masters, Hara lets her subjects’ body language and expressions speak as much as their surroundings. In one image, girls at the beach look surprisingly sullen considering their location. The sky and sand, both baize, come to frame the pastels of their garb and heighten the discomfort in their faces. They could be fearing an unsure future or just as easily frowning from the discomfort of their now wet clothes, or - as Hara would have us believe - both.
Despite the immediacy of snapshot photography, the potency of Hara’s work comes from how detailed and rich in nuance her images appear. A man, in black, chases a red ball down a street, a commonplace image until the “don’t walk” signal flashing above him becomes the center of focus and seems to allegorize an unknown danger. In one of Hara’s most playful yet terse images, the camera is pointed upwards at an oblique angle and catches a cat yelping. It is both humorous and mysterious, as the source of its expression, whether pleasing or painful, remains unseen. And that is ultimately what pervades Hara’s project, through the sometimes soft sometimes vibrant color schemes, are people, animals and things, waiting on boats or for trains, standing in plazas or walking into fields, things so quotidian that they would all seem unremarkable if not for the sense of unknowing that goes along with them, the implication that reality and danger lurk somewhere nearby, whether just off camera, or on a much greater systemic scale which these subjects ignore as they try to live and go through the rhythms of life which appear sometimes happy and sometimes sad but always uncertain.
Mikiko Hara was born in 1967 in Japan. Her studies in Philosophy at Keio University helped formulate her keen photographic sense and came to benefit her during her Graduate studies at the Tokyo College of Photography. She has had several solo exhibitions and exhibited internationally in Europe and in Asia. “Hysteric Thirteen,” a photo-book of her work, was published in 2005 by Hysteric Glamour, Tokyo, and her work is in the international collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.
The Cohen Amador Gallery is located in the landmark Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street on the 6th floor. Gallery hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment. For additional information, please contact the gallery at (212) 759-6740, visit www.cohenamador.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.