Mitsuya Watanabe’s new drawings take on an almost collage-like effect. The artist draws lightly shaded forms with graphite that contrast strongly with their dark backgrounds. Some of the figures have white outlines around them, flattening the scene and making them look like cut-outs, which adds to their surreal, dreamlike quality. Watanabe has a solo show coming up at Hellion Gallery in Portland titled “Immaculate Eve,” opening on May 7. A series of new drawings filled with floating objects and bizarre juxtapositions, Watanabe likens these works to interpretations of dreams.
Hellion Gallery in Portland has become an unlikely purveyor of Japanese contemporary art thanks to curator Matt Wagner, who makes frequent trips to Tokyo and is well-acquainted with the scene there. Their next exhibition is Hideyuki Katsumata’s “Hide in my Brain,” a collection of loud, unapologetically obscene paintings debuting on April 2. Spirits and demons engaging strange, erotic activities abound in Katsumata’s unhinged compositions — which he fills with hallucinatory colors and brisk line work. “Hide in my Brain” will be his first solo show in the US, and, as the title suggests, it offers great insight into the artist’s strange mind.
Yu Suda’s ink paintings evoke the iconic style of Japan’s Edo period, but his subject matter is a bizarre mix of anachronistic and contemporary imagery. His hyperactive work displays a thirst for action and adventure and a bizarre sense of humor. In one piece, a young man rides on the back of a horse-faced person on a skateboard. In another, a protagonist blasts away on an anthropomorphic, cloud-motorcycle hybrid with a goofy grin. Suda’s solo show “There Is Something Wrong with Yu Suda” opens at Hellion Gallery in Portland on February 5.
This Thursday, Yoskay Yamamoto will debut eighteen new paintings and sculptures at Hellion gallery in Portland, “Rainy Day with a Chance of Sun.” For this show, Yamamoto chose to explore the balance between joy and melancholy. His paintings vary in style, inspired by artists like Paul Klee, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, and Robert Indiana, to name a few. Images of their art are scattered around his Los Angeles studio where we paid him a visit.
Public art and murals add an imaginative dimension to the daily humdrum of city life — a cause public art project Forest For The Trees is championing in Portland at Hellion Gallery. The gallery is currently hosting a two-week pop-up fundraiser show for FFTT, which is gearing up for a mural series in late August featuring the likes of Blaine Fontana, DAL, Faith47, Know Hope, Mary Iverson and many other international and Portland-based artists. The current group show at Hellion Gallery features works from a small selection of artworks from some of the participants: an assemblage by Fontana, psychedelic paintings by Brendan Monroe, a landscape collage by Mary Iverson and more. The exhibition is on view through May 30. Stay tuned for news about the Forest For The Trees mural series later this summer.