Hisako Kobayashi started out with the idea of painting sound and expressing feelings equivalent to those expressed by music as she aspired to pure painting made up of lines and shapes. Just as music can give pleasure and comfort to its listeners, painting, too, can evoke universal emotions and establish connections between human beings without the need for words. Powerful yet delicate, Kobayashi´s paintings reflect both her Japanese roots and her American home of choice. They are all-over canvases aiming to evoke the sublime, thus recalling American Abstract Expressionism and the work of associated artists such as Mark Tobey. The vast fields of muted color create an atmospheric space: in fact, they seem to actually depict the air filled with energy and sound, visually expressing the invisible. In Kobayashi´s work, depth is achieved by layering, and her paintings consist of many layers of paint. At times, she even has one canvas placed on top of another one, alluding to layers of coexisting feelings. Marking the space and suggesting vibrations are subtle and dynamic lines recalling Japanese calligraphy. They trace movements and bring to mind natural sounds, like the steady beating of the waves, the whisper of the wind or the murmurs of a stream. Paintings such as Synoptic Knobs, 1999, even though abstract, often evoke the elements water and air.

Ursula Hawlitschka