As the long time art director of the peerless American textile firm, Clarence House, Kazumi Yoshida has created a signature style of figuring ease and naturalism into contemporary pieces. The artist’s distinct aesthetic has also been notably realized in textile, Kazumi has created
Amusement has always been the great moving force behind culture. --Italo Calvino
The title of Kazumi Yoshida’s new show, Amusement, corresponds to the Muses of Ancient Greece, those allegorical protectors of the arts. One can extend this regard to include producers of the arts as well, and to Yoshida, who consistently produces and protects an inimitable vision through figurative and abstract painting, drawing, assemblage, and sculpture. This body of work suggests a playground of the Muses, as it encompasses music, theater, playful tragedy, and serious comedy. The joyous lyricism belongs to Yoshida almost as a brand that carries through all of his aesthetic tropes. Besides eight Muse portraits, with their springy hair and pop-up attributes, are two giant heads, “Orpheus” and “Persona,” the Greek term for “mask.”
And then we leave the figurative and enter the abstract domain of boxes that are at once dramatic and still. Three colorful series, six boxes each for “Skene” and “Orkestra,” and the 12 pastel “Limelight” boxes, imply both stage sets and deep windows, tempting viewers to enter and improvise original playlets of their own.
Associated with the Muses, of course, is music, the origin of the word in English. Yoshida’s black-and-white boxes contain string lines that resemble musical instruments such as lyres, lutes and pianos, and recall piano keys and sheet music. The musical motif carries into “Metronome,” “Jazz Syncopation White” and “Jazz Syncopation Black.”