On Saturday night, Tokyo based artist Yosuke Ueno celebrated his fourth solo exhibition at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles with “Beautiful Noise.” Over his career, Ueno has built a fantastic, vibrant universe inhabited by characters like “Hapiko” and “Efil” (“Life”), inspired by Japanese spirits. Here, they find themselves joined by those familiar to Western audiences such as Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse, decorated with elements of contemporary culture including glittery, graffiti motifs, and Pop iconography.
Yosuke Ueno with his painting, “One Girl,” on opening night.
In his previous exhibition, “The Specific Illusion,” Ueno presented his emotional reaction to the Great East Japan Earthquake, or 3/11 – moody illustrations heavy with his fears and also hopes for a better future for the world. As if a weight has been lifted from his shoulders, Ueno’s new paintings are an emotional departure infused with messages about “Love” and warnings about the impact of consumerism. The influence of painter Johannes Vermeer is also present in recurring references to paintings like “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” and hooded shōjo (“little girls”), combining manga or comic book stylings with 17th century Dutch wear. Ueno’s unique symbolism is also indicative in his palette and writings, which represents his continued interest in science and DNA. For example, his use of letters like “A T G and C” throughout refer to the molecular elements that all living beings share. Ueno’s main concept, “Love, Space and Positive Energy,” feels revived in all aspects of his exhibition; an alternate reality characterized by the bold “noise” of popular culture where medium is as important as the message.
“Beautiful Noise” by Yosuke Ueno is now on view at Thinkspace Gallery through June 13th.