The late artist Tetsuya Ishida is still making an impression with his nightmarish paintings of young men in a state of disfigurement. His work has been described as a surrealistic portrayal of every day Japanese life. Of the 180 works he left behind after his death by a train accident in 2005, nearly all include self-portraits. Ishida’s images most certainly link his own childhood experiences with his observations of society. As a child growing up in Japan, Ishida felt constant pressure to meet the standards of young men his age, and was encouraged to study academics over art. Paintings, such as “Prisoner” (1999) which portrays a young boy growing beyond the capacity of his school walls, reflect on his memories. In fact, there are several iterations of the same image, pointing to the extremity of his frustrations as a student. See more of his work after the jump.
The characters in Yoskay Yamamoto’s paintings are often portrayed submerged in water. With eyes half-closed and a serene expression on their faces, they seem at peace in the cool blue seas painted from the artist’s dreams. The concept of being submerged, for Yamamoto, represents his place between cultures as a Japanese artist living in America. His ocean possesses a strong physical and emotional power because of this. It’s waters contain new elements in his latest series of 12 paintings, debuting on Friday at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Contempo #ArtShop, curated by Giant Robot.
Recently named the most popular artist of 2014, Yayoi Kusama (HF Vol. 25) has currently taken over two expansive spaces at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. Her exhibition, “Give Me Love,” which closes this week, includes a reenactment of her popular installation, “The Obliteration Room” (2002), new pumpkin sculptures, and paintings. They share the hallucinatory, obsessive, and energetic qualities we’ve seen throughout her career, something this exhibition aims to embody. More photos after the jump.
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.