Browsing through Fuco Ueda’s (HF Vol. 31 cover artist) body of work, one can’t help but succumb to the magnetizing power Ueda’s chrysanthemum flowers. Rendered in bright hues that burn with ember-like radiance, the flowers occupy the forefront of the artist’s imagination. Often, they obscure her characters and other figurative details, dominating her canvases, which are richly painted with acrylic washes and mineral pigments that give the sensation of being enveloped in a thick, wet atmosphere, or perhaps even living underwater.
In Japanese culture, the chrysanthemum flower represents lamentation and grief, a theme that permeates Ueda’s compositions. The flowers become like the feeling of sadness one can’t shake; the memories that beckon when a loved one is lost without closure. Ueda’s upcoming show at Culvery City’s Thinkspace, opening March 29, is aptly titled “Kioku No Hana,” which translates to “Flower of Memory.” Like Ueda’s past work, the new series relies heavily on negative space, zeroing in on characters’ faces and, of course, the chrysanthemums, and filling in almost all else with rich gradients of pigment. There are some instances, however, where the narratives in the paintings are more fleshed out, bringing out the illustrative quality of Ueda’s style with works that appear to be snapshots of a story one must imagine for oneself.
“Kioku No Hana” will be on view March 29 through April 19 at Thinkspace in Culver City. Fuco Ueda is the cover artist of our next print issue, Hi-Fructose Vol. 31, which comes out this April.