49 Geary Street, Suite 440, San Francisco. CA
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K. Imperial Fine Art is pleased to announce Helplessness In Hopefulness, an exhibit of new works by Berkeley based artist Masako Miki. This show, Miki’s first solo exhibit with K. Imperial, will feature a series of ink and mixed media drawings on paper, felt sculpture, and a life-sized wall installation.
 
Miki’s delicate and absurd narratives reflect on her own cultural identity. A native of Osaka, Japan, Miki explores the in between space of belonging, cultural assimilation and metamorphosis of the self. Through her whimsical stories she synthesizes a duality of cultures, traditions, and perspectives.  Miki’s work reminds us of cautionary tales, however, in her illustrated fables the moral is often obscured.
 
Miki uses animals as a metaphor for her personal transformation. In the unsympathetic nature of the animal kingdom, a species survival depends on their ability to adapt and evolve within their surroundings. As humans, our sense of survival can be broader and more complex. In Miki’s renderings, animal behavior and the associated consequences divulge insight into her own dilemmas. This current series is inspired by an upsetting of the natural order within a species- in this case a pack of wolves. The concept of predation is a continued development from her recent series. Wolves and humans both share a gregarious and territorial nature.  A wolf’s survival depends on individual performance within the pack, as each member has a particular role to play. The pack will be severely compromised or may not survive if the hierarchy and balance are not maintained.
 
In the two ink drawings, Making her Disappear (white wolves) and Making her Disappear (black wolves), Miki has rendered with intricate detail one wolf grasping the jaw of another wolf. The tone suggests an ambiguity of aggression versus affection.  This practice, called a ‘muzzle grab’ is a common behavior by wolves, which confirms dominance in a relationship. In the paper installation, Helplessness In Hopefulness, Miki paints gradations of red and black on folded paper, which hang by fishing wire from a half-circle steel beam. This four and a half foot diameter orb has a kinetic gestural tendency, moving in response to its environs. The fragile undulation of the paper, the gradation of tones and the abstract geometric shapes all refer to a constant state of flux found in her work. The installation is also a play on formal investigations of space and perspective. Here Miki manipulates contradicting spatial elements like flatness and illusion to suggest a disoriented context, where the dichotomy between opposing forces becomes an integrated visual reality, encompassed by one of our earliest symbols in mark-making – the circle.
 
Miki’s suggested fables are a graceful exploration of our shared humanity and allude to Joseph Campbell’s suggestion in The Hero With A Thousand Faces, that every generation needs a new mythology. This body of work, Helpless in Hopefulness is a story of resilience and empathy.
 
Miki was born in Osaka, Japan and received MFA from San Jose State University.  She has exhibited throughout the bay area including Headlands Center for the Arts, Park Life in San Francisco, Swarm Gallery, Interface Gallery, the Compound Gallery in Oakland, Gallery Extrana, Berkeley Art Center, Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.  Recently, Miki was a residency artist at Vermont Studio Center and Wassaic Project in New York, and is a recipient of an individual Artist Award from The Santo Foundation.  She is also a nominee for the 2010 and 2012 SECA Art Award from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Miki currently lives and work in Berkeley, California.
 
Helplessness In Hopefulness is curated by Aimee Friberg.
 
K. Imperial Fine Art is located at 49 Geary Street on the 4th floor.  The artist reception for Helplessness In Hopefulness will be held on Saturday, May 4th from 3-5pm. For more information on Masako Miki or to inquire about the work, please contact the gallery at (415) 277-7230 or aimee@kimperialfineart.com.

       

Helplessness In Hopefulness 
(red wolves )

Ink on paper
30 x 22 inches, 2013

Helplessness In Hopefulness 
(brown wolves)

Ink on paper
30 x 22 inches , 2013

Hopefulness In Helplessness
(totem)  

Ink, watercolor on paper
40 x 30 inches, 2013

Helplessness In Hopefulness 

Acrylic Ink, paper, fishing wire
4.5 foot diameter circle, 2013

Asking wolf
Ink on nepalese paper
20 x 14 inches, 2013

Making her disappear
(white wolves) 

Ink on Paper
22 x 30 inches, 2013

Making her disappear
(black wolves) 

Ink on Paper
22 x 30 inches, 2013

Making her disappear
(white wolves on red) 
Ink on nepalese paper
5 x 7 inches, 2013

Complex Relationship
(wolf and fox) 
Wool
8 x 14 x 8 inches, 2013
Complex Relationship
(bear and deer) 
Ink, gouache, watercolor,
collage on paper
22 x 30 inches, 2013
Complex Relationship
(wolf and fox) 
Ink on nepalese paper
8 x 10 inches, 2013
   
Not Knowing When To Wake Up
Ink on nepalese paper
14 x 20 inches, 2013
Not Knowing When To Wake Up
Ink on nepalese paper
58 x 88 inches, 2013

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