Volume 92, Issue 12

Thursday, September 24, 1998

write all about it


Akimoto loves Living - art finds new habitats

By Sarah Kyle
Gazette Writer

Shinobu Akimoto, a second-year graduate student in Visual Arts at Western, is displaying her recent work in an exhibit with multiple locations entitled Living Making, Making Living. By dividing her show between these two polarized spaces, both public and private, Akimoto hopes to explore the living spaces of our lives.

The Living Making part of the show takes place at The Palace At 4 a.m. on Blackfriars Street and consists of selected paintings dating between 1996 and 1998. Akimoto's primary subject is animals, however don't be deceived by this apparent simplicity. The brightly coloured canvases displayed beneath an overhead cage of netting create a unique atmosphere for her work. Akimoto's use of parallelism gives this part of the exhibit cohesion. She situates her paintings to complement each other, resulting in a sense of confinement.

Akimoto employs the limited space of the gallery to suit her theme of exploring living spaces. The heavy wire netting overhead draws her audience further into her images by invading their personal space. This invasion disallows the viewers to distance themselves from Akimoto's work.

In the second part of her exhibit, Akimoto allows her viewer into her own private space, which immediately contrasts the constrictive invasion of space at the gallery. She augments the viewer's natural discomfort at being in a stranger's home by segregating herself from the pieces being displayed with more cage-like netting. Akimoto stays behind the netting while the viewer examines the small ceramic and metal objects on display. She becomes part of the exhibit by standing behind the netting. With the light source behind her, shadows are cast which infiltrate the room.

The beauty of this idea is that the artist acts as a voyeur while her art is observed, forcing her viewer to take part in the exhibit. The viewer's participation furthers Akimoto's goal of defining the spaces we live in and exploring our ideology about public and private life. Her exhibit lacks any documentation about her goal, however, Akimoto is willing to field all questions about her goals and work. Though her apartment is south of downtown and difficult to get to, this part of the exhibit is well worth seeing if only for the contact with the artist.

Akimoto's exhibit offers a rare glimpse into an artist's continued exploration of the spaces we live in, as well as a glimpse into the ideology of public and private space for her viewer.

Living Making can be seen at The Palace At 4 a.m., 13 Blackfriars Street until Oct. 3. Making Living is at 604-71 Grand Ave., also until Oct. 3.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998