Watercolor paintings by JJ Miyaoka Pakola


“I remember being in Tokyo taking the last train home from work. Due to the train’s congestion, the nine closest passengers were all pressing against me. If there were a way to lift my feet, the throng of commuters would have surely supported my weight. While floating without any control within this vessel, I remembered a passage from Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s novel The Melancholy of Resistance depicting the physical decay of a body. Over a number of pages, Krasznahorkai obsessively describes decomposition. Layer after layer of the body deteriorates letting fluids and cells loose until they meet another resisting force. Being still and yet in no control of my body, I remained enclosed in a train moving along its trajectory without remorse.

Drawing from moments like this, I charge the scenery of my large-scale watercolor landscapes with what fills the gap between specific experiences and their concurrent thoughts. What interests me in these events is the dislocation that occurs from the sensation of occupying multiple locations simultaneously. The grammar of space is fractured, and the route through this terrain is disorienting and full of obstacles. Each position must fight, debate, and negotiate to form interconnecting paths. I have to adjust and move around the surface to paint new passageways around barriers linking the space and the event as a whole. This attempt to understand what joins cognition to an environment often proves to be futile. Rather than looking for truth with this exploration, I am painting to be surprised by the failure to understand my orientation to setting and place.”

-JJ Miyaoka Pakola