Yuriko Lochan Creates A New ‘Self’ portrait in her solo exhibition at Alliance Francaise


New Delhi: It’s not easy to live in a foreign land, make it your home and even more creditably, make a mark for yourself as a creative person. Yuriko Lochan has not only done all of these, but gone a step ahead by adding a refreshingly new element of nudes and self portraits on her canvases for a solo show of watercolours and acrylics titled Immanence to Transcendence at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi from November 27, 2009 to November 30, 2009.

Born in Osaka, Japan in 1962 and a Masters in Fine Arts from Kyoto University, Japan, Yuriko married Prof Rajeev Lochan, the present Director of NGMA, to settle down permanently in Delhi.  Her work, therefore, carries frequent references to Indian philosophy and myth, and in a way that’s impossible without a deep appreciation of the Indian way of life. She has been actively participating in various group exhibitions and art camps, and has gained an enviable popularity in the art circles.

The current solo exhibition, coming after a gap of over five years in Delhi, offers a comparison between two kinds of expressions that the artist calls “Immanence and Transcendence”. While Immanence refers to works done in watercolour on Japanese paper that create a soft and subtle subconscious imagery, the latter consists of recent works done in acrylics on canvas and are replete with images that are loud yet simple in presentation and direct in expression like the language of nature.

Says Yuriko Lochan: “Since I have started to live here, I have been continuously trying to transcend any category of identification which one may think for me – as a Japanese, Indian, artist, woman, married and so on. But, it’s my aim to become truly universal, only by sheer excellence of the work which I create.”  She further adds: “This universal quality is gained by always being conscious of one’s own origin yet looking out at the world with responsible, intelligent and flexible eyes.”

The current body of work in the exhibition is divided into five series namely Prakriti series (2004 – 2007), Tree of Life series (2004 – 2008), Banana Leaf series (2005-2008), ‘Self’ series & Calligraphy in ink on paper. Explains Yuriko: “My earlier watercolours are an interpretation of visual elements that India has given me, combined with the medium and technique imbued from my origin. The Banana Leaf series and Prakriti series, done on Japanese paper are kind of a mindscape. Here, I dwell in images which are more subtle, vague and soft.”

While Prakriti (the counterpart of Purusha) series consists of a woman’s glory that is representative of the elements of this world, Tree of Life series displays a dominant use of grapes which is considered as the symbol of life in Christianity. Banana Leaf series is the output of artist’s inspiration from her stay in Kerala. She says: “The experience of the beautiful place is marked with the vast impression of the Arabian sea, the air of the jungle filled with energy, and powerful but modest people living with nature. These are the motifs which lead me to create a series of paintings, surround the feeling of loneliness, sea breeze, and flowering banana trees promising a plentiful yield within no time!” The banana leaves in her watercolors are full of intricate details that are in perfect harmony.

In Yuriko’s more recent acrylics on canvas portraying the same banana leaves, the consciousness in the landscape grows into a definite viewpoint in a large work titled Shore.

The most recent ‘Self’ series, done in acrylics on canvas, are the artist’s effort to realize a new state of existence of her own ‘self’. Here, she consciously uses self- portraits not to make a socio-political statement but to represent the universal image of a woman’s existence. Her Self series is a departure from being the sophisticated, observant artist who is consciously deciphering Japanese and Indian nuances of art to become the totally relaxed, free flowing and a definitely more open ‘self’. She refrains from making her Japanese origin evident in this series, of course, other than the golden cloud on the background dominantly embellishing the main iconic image that subtly suggests the Indian traditional knowledge – Mudra.

On the other hand, her series of calligraphy in ink on paper is a spontaneous, free flowing yet controlled expression of art.

Says Yuriko: “In the large acrylic canvases, the sudden appearance of ‘self’ in the natural landscape inevitably breaks the composition into three or more panels.  It is slightly different from the panels in the watercolour landscapes on Shikishi mounted paper. While in both the cases, the composition of each panel actively and consciously relates and influences each other, yet in the earlier watercolours, the panel effect was more intentional but later the purpose of using panels was thematic.”

Sums up Yuriko about her art practice in India: “The journey is not always easy. The achievement is that I am still at it! Till the time I had not realized that I could not do anything else other than painting, it was very difficult. Now that I am on my way towards finding my niche as an artist, I am a fulfilled person.”

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Source by Neha Chandra