HABITAT: MIKA HORIBUCHI

Feb 5, 2016 / by Katherine McMahon / Art News

Habitat is a weekly series that visits with artists in their workspaces.

This week’s studio: Mika Horibuchi; Ukrainian Village, Chicago. “Do you see a rabbit or a duck?”Mika Horibuchi asked as we looked a simple drawing that once appeared in a German humor magazine and later found fame after being included by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations as an example of different ways of seeing. It looked like both a rabbit and a duck. “At first, you’re able to see without any sort of pre-judgement,” Horibuchi said. “Then you make a switch cognitively based on the influence of outside information. I’m interested in the cognitive switch that happens in relation to the exterior physical world.”

Her labor-intensive paintings playfully explore these inconsistencies, offering up images that are immaculately rendered but slippery. Even as you recognize something, other readings seem to lurk, just out of sight. A work painted atop table resembles a chess set and then a bit of weaving, a painting on linen shows fruit in a tree or maybe a playing card or even a die.

Horibuchi originally moved to Chicago from the Bay Area to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has stayed for the artistic community and number of opportunities that might not be afforded to a young artist in other cities. Economically, she described Chicago as “friendly.” In addition to working as an artist, she also helped found 4th Ward Project Space, an artist-run space in Hyde Park. “It’s a small space that’s based on a foundation of mutual trust with the artists,” she said. “We don’t want to have too much of a curatorial hand in the exhibitions.”

Horibuchi is currently at work on pieces for several shows and projects, including a group exhibition atLoudhailer Gallery in Los Angeles this month, a show with Jordan Nassar at LVL3 Gallery in Chicago in the spring, a group show at Anat Ebgi Gallery in Los Angeles in June, and a solo show at Patron Gallery in Chicago, also in June.