Judy Nakagawa

Region: Vancouver BC
Generation: Sansei
Born 1951, Vancouver


Judy Nakagawa began studying sculpture at the Corcoran School of Art+Design in Washington, DC in 1998 and in 2002, was awarded the Berthold Schmutzhart Award for sculpture.  She exhibited her work at the Whitewalls Gallery, in the Corcoran, the Jackson Art Centre, in Georgetown, and had a solo show at the Errant Space Gallery in the National Press Club Building in downtown Washington.

Since moving back to Vancouver in 2004, she has participated in numerous shows, including two major solo shows: “In Pursuit of a Quiet Art” at the Japanese Canadian National Museum in Burnaby, BC, and “A Steveston Beginning: Remembering My Mother” at the Britannia Shipyards, National Historic Site in Richmond, BC.

She currently resides in Ottawa and is represented by Studio Sixty-Six (studiosixtysix.ca)


Artist Statement

My work usually begins with some type of material and the question – “I wonder what would happen if?” Usually I have no idea what the final piece will look like.  As I begin to manipulate the material, an idea starts to take hold and at some point, the work begins to take on a life of its own. As it grows, unexpected things happen; a connection breaks or a mistake is made. This creates the opportunity for a new direction to emerge and allows me to create something original. My themes are almost always personal, such as loss, memory or gratitude, and there is usually a meditative quality to them. I like to work with lightweight materials, such as paper, wire, and natural fibres, because these allow me to achieve volume without the weight. Wire is especially compelling to me. It is easily bent, but hard to break.  It can be easily manipulated into a shape, but it still maintains its integrity as a line. It can look fragile, but is strong.
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Judy Nakagawa-Stillness