Iku Harada
Critique
Iku Harada (b. 1982) creates computerized virtual reality (VR) spaces then expands her artistic world through painting. She does not account the reality with the world that creates the image; but, she focuses on the image that creates the worldview. Without the respectable atmosphere, the computerized scenes are not real. The computerized images are revived through painting without the loss of aura as she does not duplicate but rather recreate with pieces of a virtual image and add energetic charm of vivid colors. Therefore, the image is re-enchanted with sacredness, uniqueness and presence.

Harada depicts scenes of virtual houses, parks, gardens and various places where we can experience the spatial sense. Even in her virtual world, the sun rises and falls, and the shadows move with the passage of time. She lets the viewers float between the anonymous scene in the computer and the livable landscape in the real world. Such ambivalent experience suggests the coexistence of virtual world and reality. Her recent works encompass the three dimensional blocks which are then to be drawn on the canvas again, constructing the interlocking world where two dimensions and three dimensions are intersected, like perceptual illusions.

Furthermore, her recurrent motif of window emphasizes this threshold effect, proposing the access to the virtual world from the reality, which is both attractive and distant. The play of light and shadow crossing on her paintings reveals that the window can also be open, allowing circulation of air and atmosphere to pass through the spaces. Harada's window arrangement highlights how the variability in the distance we put with things from reality to abstraction, from the habitable to the distant, from play to engagement.