Masako Kamiya and Tommy Simpson Press Release

Masako Kamiya: New Paintings
Tommy Simpson: Picnic in the Park
June 5 – July 10 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA concludes our 38th season with paintings by Masako Kamiya and furniture by Tommy Simpson.

Masako Kamiya: New Paintings and Tommy Simpson: Picnic in the Park are on exhibit from June 5 through July 10. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, June 5 from 6 to 8 pm.

Masako Kamiya New Paintings

Masako Kamiya’s newest body of work is done entirely on paper. Using acrylic gouache, she puts down a dot of paint, lets it dry, then adds another. She repeats the process until stalactites of differing heights emerge. Each layer on the surface, or dot, is of a different color so the work, observed from an angle, becomes a forest of multicolored columns.

In the past, Kamiya’s painted marks were consistent in shape and size. The mark making in the new works on paper are diverse: one dot may appear as a perfect circle and the adjacent dot may resemble a watery drip or dash. Kamiya comments on the sculptural aspect of her work. “My intention is to challenge the way a painting is conventionally perceived. The sculptural surface moves viewers across the field of the painting. This forces the viewer’s eyes to mix and optically process the various properties of color. Ultimately, the viewers experience the subtle metamorphosis of the colors in the painting as the painting shifts from two dimensions to three dimensions and back again, according to the viewer’s angle to and distance from the work.”

Kamiya continues, “In my most recent painting, I have found that the tension between the painted and unpainted area to be highly engaging. This counterpoint allows me to embrace a freer and more unconventional structure. I have been making marks without paying attention to the borders of the paper and letting the dots grow and expand into visible and invisible shapes.”

The mark making of two of Kamiya’s newest paintings resemble drops of rain and appear to have a gravitational pull. The idea for these works was born from her recent residency in western, coastal Ireland.

Tommy Simpson Picnic in the Park

Collected and exhibited by major museums throughout the country, Simpson is a leader in the field of studio furniture. But the term “studio furniture” describes only one stream of Simpson’s work. He’s a maker. Rugs, quilts, sculpture, furniture, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, prints, cookie cutters, and United States postage stamps are among some of the things Simpson creates.

The exhibition at Gallery NAGA will have examples of many of these different mediums: a painted cabinet based on Chinese vases in the collection of the MFA; a dining table inlaid with cooking terms; a rug designed by Simpson then woven in Nepal; and a floral bouquet made from dozens of types and colors of wood. Each piece exudes a quality that is singularly Tommy Simpson; the work is joyful, heartfelt and genuine. “The ultimate goal,” Tommy says, “is to bring the artwork to life, so that the viewer can identify the human spirit behind the work, and experience its poetry.”

Asked why he named the show Picnic in the Park, Simpson responded, “A picnic is ‘deliciousness in a basket’ under the trees – a time and place where our five senses can see beauty, taste goodies, smell nature, touch life, and hear our hearts. It’s a moment to bond with friends, family, and sweethearts, while connecting to, and being part of our natural world among the trees, birds, and streams of this amazing planet. The paintings and objects I make support the wonders of the world around us, and invite imaginative celebration of our home called Earth. So grab a basket of your senses, take a walk under the trees, and say hello!”