I found myself in the art/ photography publication section of a Borders this morning; where on the cover of Color Magazine the face of Kimiko Yoshida was discovered gazing back at me. The art nerd in me lost it to her technique: the neon green and highlighter yellow layered over a matte grey, the choice of tonal variations within a monochromatic field, the fact that somewhere in this latticed color landscape is a distinct, yet sinking, shape of a woman peering out.
Yoshida’s work "Marry Me!" is all about blending boundaries between ideas of sexual and cultural identity, which is why she chooses to portray herself as different types of brides. According to a statement, Yoshida fled her homeland to escape the “mortifying servitude and humiliating fate of Japanese women.” She “seeks to take a feminist stance in protest against contemporary clichés of seduction.” (www.beautifuldecay.com)
Yoshida’s work bangs on the door of cultural preconceptions of ideas of “woman.” She may use impasto like paint to cover the features of her face until all identity is obliterated into a monochromatic landscape. This technique purposefully suggests the tradition of the doran, where geishas paint their face in order to change and therefore erase all signs of their physical identity.
Yoshida’s work muses on Descartes, “I come forward masked.” All of her self portraits utilize the maximum charge of a cultural object while simultaneously minimizing the individual features that would singularly distinguish her. She erases herself to visually communicate a shared history of women, of shapes, of culture. To read more about Yoshida’s work, from a gallery which represents her, click here.