Rieko Hidaka

Rieko Hidaka

Installatiion view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2007 ©Rieko Hidaka


The characteristic common in Hidaka’s works is the gray scale color scheme. Tree branches seem to lead to other branches in perpetuity, but there is no trace of meaning or emotion. Hidaka’s trees are not those frequently seen in landscape paintings ? they represent neither a life force or as an idealized symbol of age. Hidaka says, “If you take a look, you’ll be realize that what you can see is unfathomable. By looking up through the trees, I create these scenes so that the infinite distance and sky continue to feel real. From this space and distance, I want to search for the space and distance on the surface of the canvas.” The works in the series Distance from the Sky will make one conscious of this space.
From her early work, which features upright trees and the horizon, Hidaka explains, “My eyes already see all areas that compose a picture with the same intensity; I cannot help but draw them all to the same degree of detail.” Hidaka developed relationships with various trees that change over the course of the seasons; even when looking at the same tree, one feels different as the linear space of the branches and the leaves’ surfaces change. Through the abstract perception of lines and surfaces, the fine and distinct tree bark depiction began to be cut out so that the trees are not limited to the physical space occupied. The contrast between the lushly leafed branches and completely bare branches make one strongly aware of the sky that waits above the trees. To achieve density on the work, Hidaka heavily layered the branches ? stretching from the closest branches to the leaves of the farthest branches, which can barely be discerned with the naked eye. She then employs the techniques of spatial perspective rather than aerial perspective; If focusing on one branch it starts to appear as both near and far to the point where if can no longer be ascertained. In 2002 this was the impetus for her first piece in the series Distance from the Sky. The budding tree was her second piece and took a more minimal form. With even the most slender leaves boldly expressed, Hidaka explains, “Gazing away results in a strong feeling of an unfathomable existence, and at the same, I have to see each layer of the actual shapes clearly. I want to go beyond these dual issues by seeing, drawing, and feeling. I want to get closer to the space in the sky ? even if it’s just a little bit.” Through her well-defined and highly detailed artistry, her work has expanded as an abstract and picturesque space.


New works, six paintings (including three large works) and six drawings, from Distance from the Sky will be displayed. We hope that you will enjoy this opportunity to see Rieko Hidaka’s latest efforts to explore sky and distance while looking up through trees.