Tokyo based Tomoo Gokita paints in a monochrome, abstract style that is simple but haunting to look at. His ongoing black and white gouache series plays on the idea of traditional portraiture. For his next solo show “Bésame Mucho” at Honor Fraser Gallery, Gokita continues to blend this line between figurative and abstraction. If his images feel strangely familiar, it’s because he borrows them from vintage film stills, 1970s magazines and photos. Here, he references romantic themes, as in his painting “Love Me Tonight” inspired by the classic musical comedy of the same name. His show title is taken from the 1940s love song with more serious undertones. It’s about a girl who doesn’t want to stop kissing her lover, as it may be their last time being together. Similarly, the dark moodiness of Gokita’s art changes our emotional reaction to it. Despite all of these references, his subjects are completely anonymous. Their faces are blurred or distorted, like an overexposed photograph where the sitter moved during the capture. It’s this movement and gradation that inspires Gokita the most.
“Bésame Mucho” by Tomoo Gokita opens at Honor Fraser Gallery on April 11th.