Kae Sasaki

Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Title: Alex Hears the Ocean
Media: Acrylic and gold-leaf on wood
Dimensions: 122 x 91 cm
Website: www.kaesasaki.com


In my work, I seek an imaginative revitalization of the narrative and atmospheric potential of painting. I negotiate the ability of painting to create visual worlds that are both familiar and extraordinary, rooted in everyday human and spatial experiences, yet taking off into the the synthetic domain of image signs. I begin by considering the composition and approach to colour, and I rework the paintings until they reveal unforeseen meanings beyond any preconceived model. As the psychological component takes over, symbols and other elements are added to bring them forward so that the paintings would further open up in a multi-vocal way. The resulting conceptual conflict is perhaps what brings my work into focus, as the paintings become mysterious in a way that attenuates engagement. The layered meanings in my paintings emanate from a profound emotional connection to life experience that allows me to engage my interest in perception, memory and narrative with the ever-evolving, often conflicting nature of contemporary Canadian painting. This portrait of 13-year-old Alex (he/they) encompasses all that is authentically and unapologetically him. Sliding one arm out of his kimono sleeves to signal his readiness. As a recently minted Bar Mitzvah, he is holding a shofar blown at Jewish New Year, owning his gender with a cross knot on his Hakama. The origami chrysanthemum patterns on a wooden surface imply his autumn birth. He is engulfed by his namesakes, water (םימ) and leaf (万葉), motifs repeated and expanded from the kimono sleeves.


Kae Sasaki (she/her) is a visual artist based in Treaty One Territory who obtained her first degree in German literature in Tokyo before moving to Winnipeg to complete B.F.A. Honours at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, where she received the Alice Hamilton Painting Prize, Cecil C. Richards Memorial Award, Lynn Sissons Memorial Scholarship and Sculptural Experience Commission Award. Kae has taught observational drawing as a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture while establishing a full-time studio practice. Her art practice has been generously supported by grants from Winnipeg Arts Council, Manitoba Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, and her work can be found in private, public, and corporate collections in Canada and U.S.A.