Dominique Raynal
a feast of colour! Hot, vivifying, intense colour
 
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France (France) 




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The images presented here represent the emergence of color and language influences from my 4 expatriate years in the Asian countries of Japan, India and China - primarily in the cities of Tokyo, Madras (now Chennai) and Hong Kong. 
As an American, born in Toledo, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Fines Arts degree from the California College of Arts in the San Francisco bay area, I studied Japanese at a private language school in Tokyo where I practiced speaking, reading and writing Japanese kanji, hiragana and katakana characters. Hiragana and katakana  the more modern simplified characters most often used on the many large neon signs in the urban centers of Tokyo.
I also traveled, lived and taught in India for one full year, then moved to Hong Kong and enrolled in a Mandarin language course at the Chinese University– studying conversation, reading, and writing Chinese characters. Being able to read hundreds of the most common Chinese characters made it easier for me when I traveled by train through mainland China (the PRC=Peoples Republic of China) to Beijing, then down to Shanghai, and  back to Hong Kong, and during my one month stay in Taipei, Taiwan (the ROC=Republic of China).  I was able to read street signs, shop signs and  advertisements in Chinese throughout the PRC & ROC. 
Each of my artworks contains variations on various aspects of characters from the written Chinese, Korean, Japanese and others languages– revealing an aspect of the beauty of each shape and structure–becoming more like symbols than meaning of words.  The oversized dominant forms of  Japanese language characters in street signs, as identification or to advertise a product, have held their strong impact on me in conjunction English lettering and product imagery in advertisements and on large American billboards, and with the Chinese calligraphic characters I enlarge and abstract by combining, reversing, overlapping, filling, fragmenting and distorting.
Now, as returned expatriate, the color influences of Japan, India and China and the forms of the written characters of the languages of these countries, as well as the other Asian countries I visited for shorter periods–Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea–reemerge in their new abstracted and combined forms, in conjunction with the English letters of my native language, with overlays of color to obtain the translucency, transparency, or opacity of the drawn stroke visualized before I begin.

Ileana Cornea
art critic
2008
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