"Harmony Wheel Series Number 1"
Conrad Ouchi, "Harmony Wheel Series Number 1," 2004, acrylic on canvas, 4' x 4'.
ALBERTA: New Paintings, Jan 22-Feb 12, 2005 Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary
By Jill Sawyer
It makes sense that painter Conrad Ouchi has friends in the auto body business. His works on canvas and hardboard are burnished to a high gloss, almost an industrial finish. Ouchi has been experimenting for more than a year on bringing maximum shine to ordinary acrylics. The pieces in his most recent series are geometric reductions with depths depicted through layered foundations and light refracted through transparent pigments rendered in warm, sometimes surprising tones. Each piece references historic palettes in grid colour fields, evoking art-school colour theory taken to the next level. Using a finish inspired by traditional Japanese lacquering technique, and modern, pixellated forms, he builds up his work and then meticulously carves it down to create an inviting, almost reflective finish. He gets it through six coats of gesso, a minimum of four applications of paint, and wet sanding between every layer with industrial-grade emery cloth (where those auto-industry friends come in). “Acrylic is so glorious on its own,” Ouchi says. “And this process just brings the quality of acrylic up to its maximum lustre.”
Ouchi’s work may be viewed at: www.conradouchi.com