Comments/Context: Every time I see Rinko Kawauchi's work, I am reminded that photography has not lost its ability to capture the pure unadulterated wonder of the world around us. Her images of seemingly mundane objects and fleeting moments are radical in their effortless simplicity and genuine freshness, her optimistic curiosity discovering child-like interest in things most of us would pass by without a second glance. Her shows have the effect of stripping away jadedness and cynicism, taking us back to a view of the world that is more naturally engaged and actively inquisitive.
Regardless of her subject, Kawauchi never seems to lose sight of delicacy and openness. At first, a blast of flash against an ordinary pink rose at night seems harsh and amateurish; look again and it has a quiet haze that is quite remarkable. Even shots that might be mistaken for stock photography are somehow infused with her life affirming attention; it's like we are being taught to see all over again. Kawauchi's work doesn't fit into any neat categories or curatorial frameworks; hers is an authentically original vision, and this well chosen small show is evidence of the power of an alternate viewpoint.
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Rating: ** (two stars) VERY GOOD (rating system described here)
The Gallery at Hermès
691 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10065