In previous exhibitions, at the Ashford Gallery and Newbridge’s Riverbank Arts Centre, Makiko Nakamura has proved herself adept at handling imposingly large-scale paintings. A protracted process of making and erasing produces, in these large works, polished impassive surfaces that, with their residual grid-based compositions, and sheer, foliated layering, convey a sense of time lived and time lost. The domestic spaces of the Peppercanister Gallery, where she is currently showing, see her experimenting with a variety of smaller formats, with just a couple of excursions to a greater size, including a nine-part grid.
Nakamura employs a stringently limited palette in generally monochromatic colour schemes. Blue is one staple. Apart from that, black and silver rule the roost. Gold is a rarity, and creates a certain tension in that it implies a decorative luxuriance not otherwise evident, even in the silver paintings, preferring as the artist evidently does, the richness that derives from austerity. Nevertheless, she could not be accused of indulging a decorative inclination. Like several other works in what is a fine show, her Charcoal Grey Diptych with its rigorous horizontal banding, is a small picture with big presence.