Critics consider Miwa Ogasawara‘s paintings as representational but without narrative. The unspectacular works of the Japanese born, Hamburg based artist, are depictions of ordinary motifs like empty hallways, furnished rooms, beds, human knees, a gesture, doorways and windows. Like Vilhelm Hammershøi she adopts an unembellished way of painting interiors and portraits using black; white and pale hues.
Miwa Ogasawara’s work as a painter has developed above all within familiar genres such as portraiture, interiors, and landscape. But in her work, these traditional forms give rise to something autonomous and new. Ogasawara’s paintings look easy, almost offhand, yet they are densely atmospheric. Her pictures cultivate a quiet, at times severe clarity that can seem ominous and suggests emotional depth, as when the artist foregrounds moments of intimacy or loneliness. Such valences of expression are a crucial factor in her work – never does her expressiveness become explicit or illustrative. Ogasawara has mastered a particular concision in which the reduction of the image as representation intensifies the emphasis on painting itself as a medium. (…)
For the most part, she chooses ordinary, apparently unspectacular motifs; one sees vestiges of intimacy in an image of crumpled bedsheets or that of figures with their gazes averted; sparsely furnished rooms show off the interplay of light and shadow. The artist transports inconsequential objects and blank moments into a dreamlike present, transforming the quotidian into “an extended moment, a slightly displaced presence,” as she puts it
(Excerpt from Jens Asthoff “Miwa Ogasawara – Galerie Vera Munro” – Artforum april 2009)