© Naomi Nakazato

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Naomi Nakazato


Artist Statement

My work maps the bifurcation of my Japanese-American identity by interrupting traditional landscape tropes, constructing monuments to fragmentation in the process. Each a liminal vignette unto itself, these topographies, pocked with voids and lapses, barriers, and mistranslations, scrutinize and synthesize in equal turns, teasing at the very brink of implosion. Natural and synthetic structures alike form a fugitive system of marks, subject to artistic whim or syntactic intervention at a moment’s notice. These archival glitches mine personal narrative for authenticity, a concept that proves as slippery as it does achingly covetous. Nestled in this ambiguous space lives a gasp of ritualistic desire, an attempt to articulate yearning for a simultaneously close and unfamiliar self.

Each piece begins with an objective starting point; a stock photograph or a screenshot from Google Maps street view purports realness in its representation. This synthetic neutrality is paralleled by the sentimental, idiosyncratic memories and interactions I’ve experienced in Japan. Objects and figures are rendered through analog (graphite, acrylic, watercolor) and outdated digital (simulators of Mac and Microsoft paint) media, layered and flattened through printmaking processes such as screenprinting, lithography, and cyanotypes. Duplications and arrangements of artificial nature cite my formulaic attempts to mime sources of faculty; the enigmatic shadow, handled with varying line weights, alludes to fleeting moments of discernment within the strangely familiar. This materials-based process is conceptually relevant to my interest in language and the inevitable palimpsest of lived experience, all arriving at a point of aesthetic distillation.

My newest body of work focuses on cultural compartmentalizations through language, or lack thereof. The work interpolates (in)experience and lingual ineptitude by presenting my compositions as their own form of narration, as if arranging and correcting visual elements could be a kind of mutable grammar. Deeply personal and existential–written both in English and Japanese, framed within gamified, virtual scenarios–my pieces ask, “can I return on my own?” and “do you feel alone in this place, stranger?”. These inquiries stem from the perspective of an algorithmic or artificial mother tongue, thereby interrogating the legitimacy of socially functional self-construction. The mark of identity embedded in place of birth or fluency falls behind and locations of belonging embed themselves in redacted and indecipherable responses. The answer then isn’t ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but the electric potential of ‘maybe’.

© Naomi Nakazato

Naomi Nakazato's Portfolio

© Naomi Nakazato

Artist Biography

Naomi Nakazato's multidisciplinary work spans drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and installation to examine belonging, faulty language, and location within hybridity. She received a BA from Anderson University, South Carolina and an MFA from The New York Academy of Art, New York. Her work has recently shown at 5-50 Gallery (Queens, NY), Galerie Tracanelli (Grenoble, FR), Field Projects (New York, NY), Geary Contemporary (New York, NY), Paradice Palase (Brooklyn, NY), Olympia Projects (New York, NY), and NARS Foundation (Brooklyn, NY). Nakazato was awarded two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants, an initiate Brandon Fellowship at the Greenville Center for the Creative Arts in Greenville, South Carolina, a 2017 summer residency at the Leipzig International Artists Program in Leipzig, Germany, and a 2018-19 Keyholder Residency at The Lower East Side Printshop. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.



© Naomi Nakazato

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