Kobayashi's work is quiet and contemplative, owing much both to the atmospheric space of oriental paintings and to the dematerialized color fields of western abstraction. One feels hints of Mark Rothko, Bruce Marden, and Agnes Martin in her own delicately luminous canvases. But whatever her debt to the western art tradition, it is clear that Kobayashi's lines come from calligraphy.
Kobayashi’s viewers experience a sense of concealed energies, hinted at but never directly spoken of. The paintings operate as fields of thought, diffused across broad swathes of intensely hued backgrounds. This is art that speaks to us of more than art.
The Brooklyn Rail Art Critique
Ordinarily in western painting, lines define shapes and divide up the space of the canvas. In Kobayashi's work, they operate differently. Instead of creating the outlines of forms within space, they become free-floating elements that pull the space into being around them.
Art in America and Art News
The paintings of Hisako Kobayashi are detailed records of her emotions and feelings.
... Her main painterly impulse is dynamism, meaning the desire to experience a singular and unexpected, almost three-dimensional harmony from the range of her experience.
New York Times
Kobayashi understands that questions may be more interesting and illuminating than the certitude of answers. The ambiguous forms in her paintings often seem to float beneath a lustrous, glazed, scraped and scrambled surface. The effect evokes the tantalizing sensation of meanings that are both elusive and insistently present -- like the recurring thought that's submerged just at the edge of consciousness.
Kobayashi uses color in a more modulated fashion, creating more depth of field in her works. On occasion, one can see shapes and pools of color that have been painted over and linger beneath the surface.
What makes the painting work, however, is the artist's flair for mark making. On some of her canvases, the lines are as fine and dense as the bristles on a make-up brush. In others they are broad and coarse, as loosely and hastily scrawled as graffiti on the wall of a subway station.