Akané Ogura

Akané Ogura was born in Ibaraki, Japan, and moved to the United States in 2004 to study art from an international perspective. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California and moved to New York City in 2010 where she now lives. She has exhibited her paintings throughout the U.S.  and internationally.

My art organically integrates Japanese and Western aesthetics into a contemporary world. I was raised in Japan with the ancient, animistic beliefs of the Shinto religion which teaches that supernatural spirits inhabit every element of our natural landscape. This belief informs my relationship to nature and to my own femininity. Within my art, I attempt to represent the bittersweet, fleeting and fragile nature of life. By eliciting forms to render the invisible visible, my idealized vision of a chaotic reality appears as motifs in my paintings. Juxtaposing female figures with symbolically rendered elements of nature allows me to explore a poetic, ethereal and atmospheric nostalgia. My art is the visual record of my musings, fantasies and dreams culminating in a celebration of the ephemeral nature of life.

My aesthetic is informed by a wide range of influences that have integrated into who I am today. The calligraphy classes in Japanese schools were an essential component of my education and trained me to refine my line work. I aspire towards the 17th century Japanese aesthetic of iki​ which intertwines simplicity, sophistication and originality. Nowadays, we refer to that as being “cool” or “chic". The sophisticated French Impressionist paintings in the museums that my mother took me to as a child have also influenced my color palette. I moved to the United States in 2004 and my academic art training here gave me a new perspective on how to see and paint with light and shadow. The multicultural life of New York City gives me the space to be who I am, and the freedom to express myself. My work meanders between the East and the West as it combines traditional sumi (Japanese ink paintings) and charcoal ink drawings with elements of Impressionistic paintings, flatness and rendering, opacity and translucency, and balances empty space with decorative motifs resulting in an original harmony.  

The painting "Do you see what I see, 2" conveys a different perspective on world views. The woman in the painting is looking at the world through a rose, which is universally associated with love. She asks, "Do you see what I see? What is your point of view?” Depending on your timing and mood, you may see and feel something different each time you encounter the work. This is a conversational piece between the viewer and the woman in the painting about what you see, feel and think at that particular moment in time. 

In "Rose Rain", I attempt to capture the fleeting moment of garden roses on a rainy day. I have visualized the atmospheric mist of rain and the scent of rainwater mixed with the fragrant roses, in abstracted sumi line work and gansai pigment wash to make it appear as though the roses are floating.The painting is mounted on a white, brocade Japanese silk hanging scroll.

The vibrant force of nature is depicted in “Rising” as the energy of the bold stems and lively, curling petals show a certain wildness whereas enlarged leaves represent the power of growth.

“Vestige” is about the passage of time. The quality of the sumi line work in this painting expresses fragility and insubstantiality. As a dried flower, the rose hovers between its present life and the afterlife.

-Akané Ogura