“Identity is mutable. We move between lines. We break free of lines. We define and redefine ‘who’ we are, even as ‘what’ we are remains mostly constant. As I interweave my interior life with my exterior experiences through my visual voice, I find that the more personal the work has grown, the more universal it has become.” –Margaret Kasahara
Margaret Kasahara is a Colorado Springs-based artist who has been exhibited and collected nationally. Kasahara’s artwork is an exploration of identity, at once personal and universal. As an Asian American of Japanese descent, the artist navigates between two cultures, combining her own memories history with pop cultural references to convey her everyday experience. Kasahara’s examination of identity acknowledges that we are all influenced by the culture in which we live and that many of us encounter misconceptions based solely on physical appearance. These assumptions, expectations, and stereotypes are all restrictions that she addresses and explores in her artwork.
According to the artist, “many of our attitudes concerning life, relationships, and identity are formed when we are impressionable children — absorbing ideas and beliefs which are influenced by the media and culture as well as through interpersonal relationships and experiences.” The influence of our early lives is paramount to the artist, stating that “children learn to read between the lines. Through her frequent use of dolls, toys, and cartoons associated with the Far East, Kasahara places them in a personal and contemporary context. Between the Lines is an exhibition of selections from five years of Kasahara’s work, demonstrating the evolution of her exploration with a clear thematic thread; the artist’s struggle to define her own identity for herself is one to which many will be able to relate.
Image credit: Margaret Kasahara, Americanese: 180 Degrees (detail), Canvas: 48 × 38 in. (121.9 × 96.5 cm)