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Naomi Shigeta
at Augen Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Continuing through October 30, 2010

In \"Path to Passage\" Naomi Shigeta\'s colored-pencil drawings abound with interlocking geometric forms that resemble ice blocks in the process of becoming igloos. Diminutive in scale, economical in line, they have a winning sense of drollness. It is in the artist\'s larger works, however, that her impish wit combines with an understated romanticism to create compositions as ambitious as they are ambiguous. At nearly 14-by-12 feet, the largest and most impressive piece in the show is a triptych entitled \"Passage,\" in which vertical slivers of glossy brown paint cascade down the picture plane in plank-like forms, counterbalanced underneath by an expanse of white.

While not explicitly referencing anything, the work manages to evoke drapery, rainshowers, Chinese landscape painting, and tacky, 1970s-era wooden paneling. The aggregate is expressed as a post-postmodern riposte to the parlance of minimalism. Other works, such as the red-orange \"Screen 1\" and the sumptuous royal-blue \"Screen 2\" use the motif of the vertical line to suggest hanging fabric or tubing. Shigeta\'s visual conceit is to deploy this motif to communicate both solidity and diaphanousness, an integration she pulls off to novel and satisfying effect.

Augen Gallery

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