Each delicate, floating face has eyes as dark and hard as polished granite, yet they are also wet and supple, quivering with a knowing warmth that engages viewers from any distance. Kawashima’s paintings are meant to stare back at you, each gaze so potent that stray locks of hair disappear in its path. Earlier paintings experimented with color and darker backgrounds, but his latest work is nearly monochrome, with faces hovering in a gossamer haze, eyes nearly jumping off the canvas.
The artist’s years studying the Tendai sect of esoteric Buddhism in Kyoto certainly influenced his work. He speaks of his paintings in spiritual terms, acknowledging them as self-portraits and as forces separate from him. One can imagine Kawashima sitting in front of a mirror as he paints and wonder: Are those eyes staring at the artist or are they the artist’s eyes staring at us?
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.