Isami Doi

The Gallery

The showing of 13 oils by Kauai’s Isami Doi emanates the same mystic cosmic strength that has placed him among the first rank of Island artists. Choosing to work in relative isolation on the “neighbor island” of Kauai, Doi has until recently painted Surrealist abstract impressionist renderings of nature. There is a new note in this show, a complication and extension beyond his individual “Impressionism.” Doi’s direction is now more abstract, with an emphasis on the language of painting rather than that of natural phenomenon.

Two-dimensional flat areas are juxtaposed to vibrating three-dimensional ones—always keeping to the landscape theme but now transcending it—in paintings such as Kauai Profile #2, in which the flat blue of the sky contrasts sharply with tiny color divisions in the rocks. The latter are alive and jumping, so organic they could just as well be tiny blood cells as rock and grass formations. In Sleepy Hollow, Blue River and Low Clouds Over Kauai, Doi uses diagonal motifs painted flatly, evoking a curious two-and three-dimensional vibration. Clouds Over Kauai is especially effective in the way the cloud patterning swoops down through stark blue cliffs; yet it is curiously frozen and stylized. One is reminded of the Japanese painter Ogata Korin, who also employed sinuous, flat diagonals with similarly dynamic results.

––Joanna Shaw Eagle