Painting with acrylic, sumi ink, and whitewash, Naoko Ochi creates scenes of the white petal dancing in the wind across the canvas. These scenes symbolize multiple layers of time – past present and future – as well as a more meditative place, where this is time to leave, to stay and to collect oneself. Interconnected forms loom over the work like paper cut forms pulled from an otherworldly book of hand-drawn plants. Her backgrounds are foliage blueprints, maps to long lost worlds, patterns of unmade dresses. The work is fantastical and entirely her own.
Ochi has exhibited extensively, appearing in group shows throughout Japan, Italy, South Korea, and the United States. She has also held numerous solo exhibitions in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, and the greater Kansai region. In 2016 she received a Profile Award at the Chelsea International Fine Art Competition for her piece “Midnight Rainbow.”
For all Ochi’s experience, a sense of magic and whimsy is the unfailing anchor at the center of her work. Each brushstroke acts as a counterpunch to the constraints of the tangible world, to the expected geometries of the morning commute, the cubicle, or the kitchen table. These glitter blooms, impossible rainbows, dissolving memories, and infinite windows are invitations to the unexpected and the as yet unknown.
Radiating spirals blooming out of long, interconnected tangles sit in opposition to blank space which is, in actuality, itself a soothing blend of subtle colors. Whether she is painting her gold-hued beauties, spiraling neon growths, or thin depictions of distant mountain peaks, there is a pull, a force gently tugging, like the current of a mysterious stream. This is the dream landscape that Naoko Ochi creates time and time again. It is a land with no one map, whose topography is equal parts fact and fiction. It is imagined and it is real.