CASA 0101 THEATER
Born in Nagasaki, Hideo Sakata has worked in Los Angeles for almost four decades, but his sensibility remains thoroughly Japanese in its visual tenderness and its search for mindful repose—that is, a condition of perception at once aware of the real world and beyond its stresses. Indeed, the most arguably “western” paintings in this small, tantalizing survey of Sakata’s career were the earliest ones, figurative, even narrative and symbolic, anti-war and anti-violence statements done in Japan in the 1970s. The glowing, often crystalline abstractions Sakata has realized since moving here don’t simply represent events or conditions of being, they present them; inviting focused contemplation as they do, they embody states of dissolution and formulation, ignorance and enlightenment much like icons or tangkas, inviting focused contemplation through the meditative organization of many larger and smaller elements. One repeating motif is a narrow vertical area at the center of which a bright light glows. This is the image Sakata took away from the atom-bombing of his native city seventy years ago, an image associated with utter destruction that he has turned into a point of transcendent entry.