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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Asako Narahashi

“Caught in a mood of floating dream-like isolation, her images testify to her sense of mixed pleasure and panic… Nature, glimpsed from this vantage, is both a serene presence and a turbulent, unpredictable force.”

I first encountered the work of Asako Narahashi through the International Center of Photography last summer. Upon entering the gallery space, I discovered her prints to appear as fuzzy blown up post card images neatly arranged on the wall’s pristine surface. The closer a stood, the more I tried to recognize the shapes in front of me. It was not until I was face to face with one of her prints that I realized everything was slightly off. What had served as a light study of ocean landscapes was suddenly revealed to me as a mirage of reality. The horizon was lopsided, the buildings and trees looked like toys, and the water that had translated into the sea, was blurry from motion. The presentation was captivating, and it became impossible to not be entranced by the 24 x 36 in. glimpses of freedom. This was reality, but she was presenting it from a different perspective, personifying nature as a dangerous beast in its slumber. Instead of photographing the limitless boundaries that are held by the ocean, Narahashi stood directly in the water, documenting the shore as a dreamy, almost impractical destination.

Looking back at space once visited, or even on something intangible like a memory, provides an awareness of some sort of journey, via body or mind. To acknowledge that distance is to address the occurrence of change. I find this work fascinating in the trails that it can lead you through without even shifting your feet.

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