Blogging about London with a Japanese flavour means that I scour the nooks and crannies of London life to find the subjects for my posts, ranging from the big exhibitions at public galleries to little shows by up and coming new artists. That’s what led me to the Lightgallery in Porchester Place to see an inspiring show by Japanese artist Yukako Shibata.
Yukako has lived in the UK for the past decade. She studied at Byam Shaw and City and Guilds Art Schools and did her MA at the Royal College of Art. This is her sixth solo exhibition and she’s also shown at a whole list of group exhibitions, most recently last year at the Ing Discerning Eye Exhibition in the Mall Gallery, selected by Doris Lockhart Saatchi.
Her work is deceptively cool and simple – primarily white, they might blend into the white walls if it were not for the subtle use of colour, very often not so much on the work as behind it. When you see it you understand why the exhibition is titled Colour Shadow, because that is just what the colours do. Take her Breeze series, shown below. Look at them straight on and they’re white; but step to the side and colours start to appear from behind.
Yukako was at the exhibition the day I went so I asked her about this work, Green 251.
She told me to stand right in front of it for two or three minutes – sure enough the green started to emerge from behind the frame. There is also a subtle hint of pink around the inside of the frame. I wasn’t sure it it was really there or whether it was a trick of the green light from behind. She laughed when I asked her about it; ‘The pink is realIy there,’ she said. ‘But I like to trick the eyes.’
The colour shone so strongly I thought there must be a light behind it, but when I looked it was all done with paint. “I don’t use anything electrical,’ she confirmed.
Some of her other works use colour more strongly, but produce an odd effect of seeming to fade round the edges, like this one, Colour Notes.
These works, Shadowfall: blue and Shadowfall: pink set the colour shadows inside little circles in the work.
As does this one, titled Colour of Shadow.
Yukako also works in three dimensions, with smooth round stone and ball-like structures, like this one, Beings (pink) in the gallery window.
This one is Beings (sky).
The exhibition is open Tuesday-Sunday 12-6 pm and continues until 20 July. The works are for sale with prices ranging from £360 to £3,000 (for the Emerald Circle shown at the top of this post). The Lightgallery is in Porchester Place, a short walk from Marble Arch tube station.