Look But Don't See - oil painting by Ben Kikuyama


oil, acrylic, found objects on board
40" x 32" x 1"

The main character, female, has a mysterious emotional quality about her, in this case, vulnerability (or is it wariness?).  On the surface, she is the prototypical “Hitchcockian” blonde from the 50’s. She represents woman in a different era. An era, when looked at from the perspective of our modern society, seemingly simpler and more innocent. Is she more innocent? Is her mind more innocent? Or is it just a perception?

The mysterious marks and symbols surrounding her are now starting to encroach, even covering part of her body and face.  The floating object towards the upper right is comprised of a strange mixture of objects. What does it represent?

Perhaps (and I say “perhaps”, because though I have an inkling, my own thoughts and ideas, I cannot be 100% certain, for when I am in creative state, the mysteries come through beyond my own understanding) the floating object, aortic and heart-like, is something that is there in our lives. It sits in the backs of minds and in the corners of consciousnesses. It is in all of our lives and for every person, it is different. It reveals signs to us in many different forms. Some of us pay attention while many others barely give it a glance, too distracted by the many others things that catch our attention.

The riddle to this piece is similar to one of an intriguing woman. We are intrigued by things we do not understand or which we cannot have. We long for clear understanding or capture. The revealing or understanding is what matters most. It is the journey we all are on.

– write-up from the artist