boston

Ayae Takahashi

Bernard Toale Gallery

Japanese-born, Boston-based artist Ayae Takahashi reads between the lines of popular fairy tales, converting their messages into complex and personal hybrids of East and West. Part of an ongoing series of narrative work begun in 1998, the four small, intricate panel paintings (all 2001) in her second solo show, “Enciphered: Snow White,” reflect theatrical tableaux based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In diluted black alkyd on stark white gesso grounds, Takahashi references historic Japanese ink scroll painting as well as contemporary manga imagery. Borrowing devices from Japanese theater and decorative design, she fabricates an open-ended and provocative oedipal tale of the complicated relationship between daughter and mother in the guise of Snow White and the queen. Here the handsome prince is absent, the dwarfs have become tiny masked putti, and the moralizing has been suspended.

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