Japanese artist Hirabayashi Takahiro, featured here on our blog, brought his work to the United States for the first time, with a solo show that opened on Saturday night at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. “Trail of Souls” is an inspired exploration of “this world” and the “next world” present in traditional Japanese belief systems.
In Buddhism, the concept of Samsara is the repeating cycle of birth, life and death or reincarnation as well as one’s actions and consequences in the past, present, and future. Japanese artist Isana Yamada chose to embody this idea in his surreal series of translucent whale sculptures for his post-graduation project at the Tokyo University of the Arts. It is a project that ties into Yamada’s overall concept of Tsukumogami in his artwork, referring to the traditional belief that long-lived animals possess spirits and gods by the transience of time. At his website for the project, he shares, “The title of the piece is “Samsara”, which is a Buddhist term for “cycle of existence”. In this work, six whales are swimming in a circle; these represent the six stages of Samsara. Inside each whale encapsulates various objects, such as submarine volcano, sailboat, and a sea of clouds.”
Seoul, South Korea based artist Daehuyn Kim, aka “Moonassi”, started his black and white drawing series in 2008 and has no intentions of stopping. Moonassi’s “life-time project”, he calls it, reads like a diary. “Each drawing is created based on my daily thoughts and feelings. I draw to meditate on myself and others, to be able to see the whole story of the series in the end,” he says.
Originally from New Mexico, Oakland based artist Grady Gordon creates dark and surreal monotype prints of frightful creatures. He describes his style of work as “Monster Existentialism”, Rorschach inkblot test-like images portraying the psychology of his subjects. He creates his images first using a crude mark making tool in black ink on plexiglass, then removes the ink to reveal the final print. The nature of monotype printing makes it impossible to repeat any image, making each piece a one of a kind that conveys his monster’s individual personalities.
Japanese artist Hirabayashi Takahiro (not to be confused with Takahiro Hirabayashi) infuses his religion’s mythology with the experience of growing up in his oil paintings. Using “boundaries” as a central theme, his dreamy portraits examine borders between the sky, land and sea, man and nature, childhood and adulthood, and how we navigate them. His main subjects are young girls who serve as a guide or guardian for those in this inbetween state of being. Considering their young age, they share in this delicate state.