Horibuchi is interested in that cognitive switch we make in deciding what to see. Her meticulously detailed oil paintings of linen curtains and slatted window screens, incongruous in their wooden frames, offer apparent windows into another space, yet are impossible to open, no matter how tactile and three dimensional they appear.
An array of optical illusions, trompe l’oeil, and hyperrealism are on display in Chicago Works: Mika Horibuchi, now at the MCA Chicago. Horibuchi’s work plays with the nature of reality, upending viewers expectations. One of her pieces references an ambiguous 19th Century duck/rabbit illustration; her deceptively simple painting could be either a bunny or a duckling in repose, depending on the viewer's perception.
Horibuchi’s watercolor series explores the importance of art as a marker of memory and experience. She began sending watercolor still-lives to her grandmother in Japan in 2017. Her grandmother, in turn, sent Horibuchi photographs of the still lives in her home. Intrigued with the repetition and recreation of an image over time, Horibuchi copied those photographs in oils, complete with the timestamps. Her work is an intriguing combination of art, history and psychology, encouraging viewers to re-examine assumptions about reality and perception. Her paintings appear at first glance to be one thing, but upon examination, reveal other possibilities.
Horibuchi lives and works in Chicago, where she received her BFA. She has exhibited at major galleries and events in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Nanjing, China. In 2014, Horibuchi co-founded 4th Ward Project Space with artists James Kao and Valentina Zamfirescu, and currently serves as co-director for this Chicago artist-run exhibition space.
Chicago Works: Mika Horibuchi runs until December 2, 2018.