Los Angeles

Shiro Ikegawa

Comara Gallery

The three one-man shows dedicated to the work of Japanese-born Shiro lkegawa at the Comara Gallery since 1961 have proven to be successively more impressive. The most recent exposure of work from the presses of the thirty-four year old artist would seem to suggest that the intaglio processes have reached some kind of ultimatum in his hands. Surely physical textures in printing have rarely been put to such extremes and the stresses placed upon the papers receiving the image must be nearly unendurable. However awesome these productions may be from a technical aspect, they do not obliterate the very personal conception which treads a delicate path between East and West. The prints suggest microscopic views through an instrument of Japanese manufacture. Amoebas, paramecia, and other uni- and multicellular creatures writhe and divide in their confined but highly complex microcosm. Mostly employing the velvety and intense blacks acquired through association with Ernest Freed, Ikegawa also introduces soft blues and delicate earth browns and reds to advantage. The studies pulled from zinc plates are labeled with inscrutable titles such as Buretsu or U-285 but at times the artist waxes poetic and comes up with Azure. None of them help in understanding, which is as it should be.

––Curt Opliger