Japanese artist Izumi Kato’s debut exhibition in the United States at Galerie Perrotin in New York is all about his creatures with very simplified human features and penetrating eyes. The simplistic traces in his portraits are one of the consequences of painting with no brushes or tools – only his hands and occasionally, a spatula. When Kato first started to paint, he was immersed in painting the abstract, but then he decided to try more human shapes, which can sometimes seem childlike but with an adult and eerie appearance. In his work, you can discover portrayals of a man but also a woman, cute but also ugly, a toy but also a monster. Although the artist may not like to interpret his work, nor give his pieces titles, these dualities are there. Since 2005, Kato has also been working on sculptures as well, and these humanoid creatures also appear in them, crafted out of carved wood, a material that he enjoys for its difficulty to mold. His sculptures have an ancient look, stylized in a way that is reminiscent of African art, but always with his unique touch and the peculiar, staring eyes of his characters. For one of his installations in the exhibit, he built a totem of seven heads and put it on top of seven different sized stools. It is as if he is encouraging us to compare them, inviting us to wonder about what world they could have come from.
Nww works by Izumi Kato are now on view at Galerie Perrotin in New York through February 27th, 2016.