OSAMU JAMES NAKAGAWA
b. 1962 American
Osamu James Nakagawa’s work moves seamlessly from direct black and white photographs (Kai, 1998-2001) to large color “paintings” (Banta, 2008) pieced together from hundreds of digital files. His accomplishments in the technology of new media and digital photography meld with his unique, personal visual language.
Since receiving a Guggenheim in 2009, Nakagawa has spent much of his time in his “other” home, Japan. His new work centers on the island of Okinawa and its “bantas,” the precipitous and breathtaking cliffs that still bear the scars of the intense battles waged during the Second World War. Utilizing digital juxtaposition and shifting perspective, Nakagawa’s views of the cliffs serve as pictorial metaphor for the tension between fear and beauty.
“For years I have carried with me a vivid memory of the first time I stood atop these cliffs – a memory of beauty in the endless blue expanse of sea and sky intensified by the fearsome height and history that met my downward gaze.” — Osamu James Nakagawa (Banta, Sohbido, 2009)
Banta and Gama were recently exhibited in a major solo exhibition of Nakagawa’s work at the Sakima Art Museum in Okinawa.
Notable group exhibitions include the 2005 Noorderlicht Photofestival, Netherlands; “Common Ground,” Corcoran Museum of Fine Arts, Washington, DC; “Medialogue-Photography in Contemporary Japanese Art ’98,” Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and “Field of Vision: Five Gulf Coast Photographers,” Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. His work is in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago Columbia College and others.
Nakagawa is an Associate Professor and the Head of Photography Department at Indiana University.