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Robert Ogata

Artist’s Statement

The same questions and issues have interested me over more than forty years of painting: the use of line/color separation to retain a two-dimensional, frontal appearance of the surface, while using surface relief and gestures to create illusionary effects. In later years this has included using multiple layers of paint and a large format. The particular marks or shapes I use draw interest and create limited space. Within this context I continue to explore references to atmosphere and illusion, which I began to investigate more than forty years ago.

In trying to establish a personal vocabulary for my work I find myself reaching back to my heritage. Growing up in a Japanese-American family, there were certain aesthetics I took for granted. I now realize that my culture has had a profound effect on my own sensibilities. Painting has caused me to reach deeply into those intuitive areas. Occasionally these cultural references appear in my work. I do not, however, consider myself an “Asian Painter”.

Objects, images and experiences in the world around me provide the stimulation to conceive ideas for paintings. My interest in atmosphere and illusion is directly related to living in the San Joaquin Valley. Because I work in themes, or series, certain elements are carried over: Imagery emerges and is obliterated as I progress through a sequence of paintings.

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