Heavenly Maiden and Daily Practices by Wakana Kimura

Artist Wakana Kimura is an MFA graduate of Otis College of Art and Design and has a BFA from Tokyo University of Fine Arts. Her Exhibition at the L.A Artcore Center in Little Tokyo presents her most recent mixed media visual narrative series: Heavenly Maiden and Daily Practices on paper. Originally from Japan, Kimura now resides in Los Angeles CA. She’s recently been awarded the Cultural Trailblazers Fellowship Award by The Department of Cultural Affair of Los Angeles and is currently exhibiting artwork at the Los Angeles Union Station Metro public art program: Through the Eyes of Artists.

Her daily art ritual begins with a series of what she calls Daily Practice consisting of small intimate drawings. This series is a meditation of spontaneous practices of short washes consisting of multiple colors brushed and dotted abstract patterns on 4”x6” paper. For Kimura, such practice is a way to keep the hand rhythmically tuned and exercised for larger pieces that measure up to 35 feet long. Daily Practices are instant flashes of interactions between simple and beautiful unforeseen shapes with a fluidity that radiates a sense of tranquility and inner peace.  This practice is the birth that inspires her larger calligraphy style paintings.

The main centerpiece of her Heavenly Maiden series is a large 77”x98” mixed media painting on washi paper roll Titled: Nirvana/The death of Buddha, 2017. This piece commemorates the passing of Buddha’s life on earth to the ultimate afterlife goal of an enlightenment being also known as nirvana. The spiritual leader’s death took place 2500 hundred years ago on February 15 under a silvery moon which is depicted in the painting. Buddha is seen in a state of serenity no longer living the negation of desires that bring much suffering. It is a scene surrounded by mourners, men, woman, elders, and animals in grief witnessing the departure of Buddha to nirvana. The spiritual leader left behind all privileges of royalty while seeking the true purpose of life. It is done with watercolors, markers, and Sumi ink, in midnight blues layered between reds, pinks, violets and small hints of gold. Kimura is very much interested in looking at the different interpretations of Buddha’s Nirvana departure by other artists beginning in India spreading through diverse regions of Asia and other places across the world. In this particular piece Kimura shares the translucent overlap process that reveals her approach and technique.  She assembles the narrative of Buddha’s death with expressive imagery and patterns done with quick short and longs wide brushstrokes of paints that swim in every possible direction.  

Kimura brings a refreshing Japanese heritage in this body of work. It is a combination between contemporary styles and traditional methods. It is here were she reveals the magic at the end of every brushstroke she performs on paper. Kimura captures in her art a spontaneous process between beauty and the mystery behind the constant change of life. She adds energy to the visual experience that can center at any given point without losing sight of the total sum of lines, curves, and shapes invested in every artwork she creates.

Jimmy Centeno


November 30, 2017