You may recognize the fantastical work of Chiho Aoshima as part of the artist’s collective KaiKai Kiki, home to previously featured artists like Mr. and Aya Takano. Opening today, the Seattle Art Museum, in cooperation with Blum and Poe, tells the story of Aoshima’s creative journey with “Rebirth of the World”. It begins 10 years ago, when she quit her job as a member of iconic Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s design team after her own career took off. Her museum debut, the exhibition takes us from her earliest pieces to 35 new drawings on paper, large-scale prints on plexiglass, and a never before seen animation.
There is nothing perfect about the pretty “Tokyo girls” that artist Tomoyoshi Sakamoto paints. Sweet with a twist of irony, his acrylic paintings are representative of Neo-Nihonga Japanese style. In one painting, girls play “dress up” in a scene that would look like any typical sleepover. As they apply their makeup, one horrifyingly ties strings to another’s watery eyes. Tears are a common characteristic of Sakamoto’s subjects, as they inflict pain and humiliation upon themselves. Not all of his works are graphic, but more melancholy.
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. Check out our preview after the jump.
Fans of recently featured duo Pip & Pop will enjoy Japanese artist Yuko Kanatani, one of their inspirations. Kanatani recently gained international momentum after the launch of her Nike sneakers and ‘Tight of the Moment’ line, which features her psychedelic designs. Her works comprise of drawings, paintings, animation, and immersive large-scale installations where one feels like they are walking into a kaleidoscope. Her bright and dazzling ornamental imagery represents varying emotions, and themes of infinity and movement.
They are “the girls behind the lace.” This is how Okinawa based painter Mao Hamaguchi describes the young subjects of her romantic paintings. Her Gothic Art inspired images are painted in a soft and delicate style, where we find Contemporary aristocratic girls bathing, peeking through cathedral gates and lace curtains. The symbol of lace is used throughout Hamaguchi’s art. Lace is a sensual fabric, often associated with intimacy and pleasure, however in Hamaguchi’s work, it emphasizes beauty and grace.
Four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake which continues to have a significant impact on the nation of Japan and its artists. On March 11th, the anniversary of the disaster, Mizuma Art Gallery presented “Howl”, an exhibition of elaborate pencil drawings by Mikiko Kumazawa. Kumazawa’s latest works reflect on the past four years, and her own personal emotional interpretation of the event. Collectively, here is an image of human nature’s strength and weakness in the face of uncontrollable forces. Take a look at “Howl” after the jump!