Coming through an almost child-like, yet sophisticated rendering of imagery executed in ink and crayon, the cat’s eyes peeking just above the top of a persimmon-laden table in “Hiding Cat with Persimmons” are so fully realized and carefully observed that they become the soul of the drawing. Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani conveys compelling artistry through terse, simple gestures. In “Sea Fish and Coral” the fish itself is little more than an oblong series of concentric lines, perhaps even hastily drawn, yet full of grace. So soulful is the face of his “Tiger Cat,” it registers a human-like intelligence behind its piercing eyes.
The standout work in this show, “Tule Lake with Leaves,” convinces us that Mirikitani just knows instinctively what a drawing should be. It is a mixed media depiction of a Japanese-American internment camp located in Northern California during World War II. The dried leaves in the work also lend it an autumnal melancholy.