Shimomura’s deadpan memories of internment

Roger Shimomura: Minidoka on My Mind” Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA. Through Dec. 22.

Shimomura’s new paintings explore his childhood experiences in an Idaho internment camp for Japanese-Americans during WW II. “After years of studious concern over content, I feel that I have either reached or sunk to a level of security where ideas for my work flow, unconscionably.” he says in his statement. “It seems that at some point I no longer felt compelled to project my own point of view toward the things that concerned me. I found myself more interested in creating a visual forum that expressed ironic and contradictory attitudes towards these concerns.” In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Regina Hackett reports that Shimomura, now in his sixties, is ten times the painter he was when he was younger. “Roger Shimomura is a cool painter who gives hot subjects a deadpan edge. Like Masami Teraoka, he combines American Pop with an updated version of ukiyo-e, the woodblock penny prints from old Edo. When ukiyo-e prints popped up in Europe as wrapping paper, they gave 19th-century modernists who were tired of Renaissance-based Western perspective somewhere to go — not distance to a vanishing point but distance in layers. From the shared base of ukiyo-e and American Pop, Shimomura and Teraoka have continued to diverge, Shimomura specializing in hard, flat color and Teraoka leaning into fluid line and delicate tonalities. Now in his late 60s, Shimomura’s art has a much broader emotional range than it did formerly, which gives his subject depth beyond its Pop Art base.” Read more.

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