Self Portrait of a Lady

December 21, 2006

Boston Globe, December 21, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

by Cate McQuaid

Sculptor Sachiko Akiyama makes a nice pairing with Smaldone at Nielsen. The porcelain delicacy of Smaldone's canvases complements Akiyama's bulky bass-wood-carved and painted portraits and self-portraits. The artist's parents are Japanese, and most of the people she portrays are family members. Her sculptures capture an outward emphasis on correctness, but hint at deep bonds and rich internal lives.

Her process, chipping away tiny bits of wood, is painstaking. A large piece such as "Alone Together," in which the sculptor and her sister are carved from a single block of wood, can take months to complete. The women on a bench look away from each other, but they hold hands; it's a quiet, poignant evocation of sisterhood.


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