Finding The Center: Works by Echiko Ohira
September 29, 2019 — January 5, 2020
For over 30 years, Echiko Ohira has created a vast body of work using repurposed paper. Her deep love of the material stretches back to her childhood in Japan, where her family home was filled with paper shoji screens and calligraphic scrolls. Her father’s old architectural blueprints often served as a substrate for Ohira’s earliest artworks. Today, her practice includes found cardboard, notebook pages, newsprint, receipts, and paper bags transformed by the artist and given a second life.
Ohira’s initial experiments with paper referenced her own body and the pain she endured from a back injury. These early works were small collages and compressed paper stacks, which became abstractions of a spine or torso. As her pain diminished, Ohira’s practice unfolded to encompass broader themes within the natural and spiritual world, including cycles of creation/destruction, birth/death, and light/dark. Her forms became larger, often radiating out from a central point. She also began incorporating other everyday materials such as pencil, thread, and nails in her works. Ohira heavily manipulates her materials through the process of gluing, tearing, staining, painting, and layering. Through the sheer repetition of these actions, she creates structures that can expand either infinitely outward or inward.
Ohira is always searching for the center, whether in reference to her own body or larger natural world. For her, the center has physical and philosophical implications: it refers to the core armatures from which she creates her sculptures, but it also represents a neutral, conceptual space where the seed of an idea begins. In this space, there is no good or bad, right or wrong—only the potential of what that idea can become.
Curator: Holly Jerger
This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.
Exhibition Photography: Blake Jacobsen