Kae Sasaki, "Red Burden," 2015
Kae Sasaki, "Red Burden," 2015, oil on goldleafed panel, 24" x 48"
Children are a mainstay in Japanese-born artist Kae Sasaki’s drawings and paintings. “I do have two daughters and they have become a prominent subject in my work,” she says. “Not only for easy access as models, but as result of a profound connection with them as an everyday life experience. As well, they are growing and turning into different people each day.”
Indeed, a look at her portfolio shows a range of ages and compositions: A wide-eyed baby juxtaposed again a sheath of flowers; a toddler holding up a set of googly eyes against a gold-leaf background; a girl’s face peeking out from a mass of autumn leaves. Along with Sasaki’s interest in the awakening of self-awareness, her works engage cultural tropes. For instance, in Red Burden, a finalist in the 2015 Kingston Prize portrait contest, a traditional silk robe is draped over a six-year-old’s shoulders.
Sasaki studied German literature in Tokyo before earning a BFA from the University of Manitoba in 2012. She works representationally, and her paintings require detailed planning before she dips her brush in paint. Yet she seeks to capture more than the mere physical presence of her young subjects. “I see them, but also something that cannot be seen in them that they are fostering within themselves,” says Sasaki. “I like to represent that in a painting and see if that is going to be an entryway for other audiences.”
Kae Sasaki is represented by Gurevich Fine Art in Winnipeg. Her work sells for $400 to $4,500.