VIDEO: View a sample of Kaoru Mansour's artwork. Mansour is also a member of Acre Foot, an alternative rock pop jazz band that provided the background music.
A perfect blend of past and present, east and west, images from nature designed with mixed materials, Kaoru Mansour is the Ying Yang songbird artist.
Mansour believes this mix of eastern and western styles of art occurred as a natural result from her life experience and education. And yet pictorially her works harmonize beautiful eastern imagery and pattern with western contemporary collage.
“I never consciously combined my east background with west,” Mansour says. “That naturally happened; specifically I started dealing with plant images with raku like a crackling background effect. I just picked the elements that appeared beautiful for my eyes. A lot of people saw my works and then saw me as a Japanese artist and said, ‘aha!’”
Three blackbirds on an orange tree.
Mansour’s work is currently appearing at The Heather James Gallery in Palm Desert.
Curator Chip Tom was attracted to Mansour’s work because he says, “I loved the dichotomies: east meets west and the old master versus contemporary style.”
Tom curates with an international equilibrium suited for the universal subtle strength of Mansour’s art.
“The gallery shows a wider spectrum of art from antiquity to contemporary and it allows me to show art that has a context,” Tom says. “I can curate Van Gogh with one of his influences: Japanese woodblock prints. Usually only museums can do this. I would curate Kaoru with Japanese Rimpa art and Dutch old master botanical paintings.”
Mansour’s roots in art evolved from childhood, learning basic painting techniques from her father, a math teacher, and family trips to temples and art shows. Images in Japan of rice fields, the woods and mountains, early on had proven a successful landscape for Mansour, who won several watercolor contests from elementary to junior high school.
Self-taught as an illustrator for a graphic art firm in Japan, Mansour developed skills to perfect images and pattern elements seen in her work today. Upon moving to Los Angeles and attending Otis Parsons Institute of Art, she then embraced a western art education.
“Otis was my first formal art training place,” Mansour says. “Somehow all techniques that they taught me were easy to understand. I studied music, I studied medical lab, but nothing was easier and more fun than making art. I was delighted.”
The Heather James Gallery, 45188 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, 760-346-8926; www.heatherjames.com