Jury Award

kanako watanabe
Image Size:

Review: Kunio MOTOE (Art Critic)

Kanako WATANABE emphasizes the dimly lit existence of humanity, which relies on a distinctive method (involving woodcuts made without chisels) of transcribing the entire world into black and white. Her attitude is precious in the midst of the contemporary prints community in Japan which has a tendency to show off excellence in technical skill and sensitivity, ending up to lose sight of what is essential. I know I am not the only one who experiences more than a pleasing lyricism wafting from WATANABE's work but also something extraordinary in the fragmentary and conceptual form depicted which raises fundamental questions about the modern person. An occasional sharpness is submerged within the characteristic gentleness of a woodcut, making us guess that originally she used to learn the art of copperplate etching.

Kanako WATANABE's exquisite twilight vision possesses an unexpected depth. It is obvious that the portion of the young girl's dress and feet that we see points to the existence of a whole person, but the pressing and timely question raised is whether such an entirety actually exists? What we do not see outside the strictly defined boundaries of a picture containing horizontal lines faintly etched and legs comprised of vertical lines–i.e., the girl's full embodiment – may have already faded away. Perhaps the truth is that we are merely fragments dreaming of some idealized whole?