Japanese artist Kenichi Yokono was on hand Saturday night for his opening of “The New Suburbs” at Mark Moore Gallery. Yokono’s show is a jarring vision of Japanese suburbia. Matched with Cheryl Pope’s reaction to violence in America, “Chain Reaction”, one could mistake Yokono’s pictures for a murder scene. True, it might look like spilled blood- but if you look closer, you’ll see its just last night’s dinner
Cheryl Pope flips through her art book, inspired by student protest posters.
Everyday objects become exciting in his rather eccentric, yet meticulous wood carvings. His works portray half eaten containers of ramen, a toy E.T. sitting in a bike basket, and a laptop decorated with “kawaii” (cute) stickers to name a few. Other images are intentionally horrific, leaving us to wonder about their mysterious owner. A rack of clothes, teapots, and vase of flowers are just a few items adorned with skulls, while traces of sex and death can be found in larger carvings of the neighborhood. These carvings are in a ukiyo-e traditional woodblock print style that honors old customs mixed with pop culture influence. In the end, what we’re seeing isn’t necessarily specific to Japan, but Yokono’s personal narrative as ‘new’ generation Japanese.
“The New Suburbs” by Kenichi Yokono shows at Mark Moore gallery from June 28 to August 9, 2014.