Brent Nakamoto

Meditation on History

Oil on Paper, with Cotton Twine and Wood, 2016
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    • There seem to be so many layers to your style. At first glance, one may simply see the piece of bark. Upon revisiting the work they may notice the stroke, the surface, and the framing. Lastly, they project their own connections and emotions onto the work. I liked how you explained it, "The painted image, therefore, is not simply a copy, but an extension of the conscious experience itself: a recording of neither image nor action alone, but of the integral relationship between the two." This particular piece has an almost watercolor aesthetic to bring out the feel of faded old photographs. Interestingly, you have re-recorded a previously recorded moment, attached to a antecedent perspective.

      I am in awe of the way that you are able to manipulate oil paints.  You're able to paint delicate feathers, dense wood, and intricately detailed faces in the same medium.  I appreciate your commitment to all things natural, from the rough edges of the paper to the wooden matting surface. Was it intentional that the inanimate objects you chose were once alive as well?

    • Thank you! Your interpretation of the painting is very perceptive. I think we must both look at painting and photography in similar ways.

      I like to work from materials and subjects that I find beautiful, and I love when that natural beauty is still resonant in the final piece. I can't say that I choose my subjects with that intention exactly, but you're right. Painting live subjects—flowers or other plants, etcs.—seems too ephemeral for me, and I'm drawn to things that are remnants of something previously alive.

    • In painting and photography, when we paint from life, we are ironically capturing only a single still moment. Perhaps in painting remnants, you are capturing more life than a single snapshot can. Your work tells a full history of years lived. Bark sustains rings for each year the tree has lived. Feathers have an origin and belong to an owner with a previous life. It is also quite clear that this painting tells a story of previous generations. As a viewer I may be projecting, but I feel that you have allowed more space for exactly that.