Art Miami 2018 | Onishi Gallery, NY
Exhibition dates: December 4 – 9, 2018
Art Miami: One Miami Herald Plaza, NE 14th Street & Briscayne Bay, Miami, FL 33132
Onishi Gallery, located in Chelsea, N.Y., is honored to participate in Art Miami 2018, noted as “America's modern and contemporary art fair market, globally recognized as a primary destination for the acquisition of the most important works from the 20th and 21st centuries.” Attracting an international slate of artists and members of the public, this dynamic event brings together creators, collectors, curators, and art appreciators to share traditions and exchange ideas. At this vibrant affair, Onishi Gallery will represent celebrated Japanese artists whose work exemplifies the ability to bridge historical and cutting-edge creative traditions, familiar and strange imagery, and actual with fantastical geographies.
Two of the artists, Shun Sudo and Yusuke Ochiai, established their fame as Tokyo Street Artists within Japan’s emerging artistic landscape. Their mural arts are lively yet delicate, sophisticated with a touch of “Tokyo chic.” Their artworks have been chosen for use in product advertising and on-site commission projects by high-end fashion brands such as NIKE and Keita Maruyama. In Miami, their work will be displayed through site-specific mural projects in and around the luxury boutiques within the Design District, greeting audiences from all over the world.
Shun Sudo, born in 1977 and based in Tokyo, has been deeply influenced by American pop culture throughout his career. After travels across the United States in his 20s, he returned to Japan in his 30s to begin work on paintings that allude to both his creative roots in traditional Japanese culture and contemporary street cultures of Western societies. Integrating both of these influences into his aesthetic sensibilities, Sudo created classic Japanese sumi-e brush stroke paintings covered by graffiti pop art to produce innovatively animated artwork that awakens the eye, mind, and spirit. In this featured series, Innocent Forest, Sudo references specific inspiration sources: Ito Jakuchu, a famous Japanese painter of the 18th century, and Akira Toriyama, a contemporary popular Japanese animation artist. Jakuchu illustrated scenes with imaginary birds, animals, flower and plants, merging this world with make-believe through bright colors and modern design. Toriyama draws influences from Disney animation to Chinese novels to Jackie Chan films, creating cartoonish characters, animals, and deities. Sudo’s current series pays particular homage to Jakuchu’s rooster and Toriyama’s animation worlds. Visit the Innocent Forest and you encounter a bright yellow fawn covered with black vegetal designs and a pointed tail, a proud rooster figure wearing royal red booties and a decorative cape, puffed up petals jumping out from their flower centers, birds in flight, and flowers, trees, and majestic mountains filling the backgrounds of these fantastical worlds. With spirited strokes and dynamic characters, Sudo guides you through his imaginary kingdom, parallel to our own reality, connecting both through tradition, passion, and creativity.
Yusuke Ochiai, born in Tokyo in 1977, became entranced with the radiant colors of his surrounding Japanese landscape at five years old, mixing and matching materials ever since. Today, he lives and works in Bushwick, Brooklyn and has been participating in Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn since 2012, continuing to display his interest in vibrant colors through his work as a New York City street artist. Building on this playful engagement with New York City’s public in his first U.S.-based solo exhibition, “POI: A Messenger of Love,” Ochiai introduced “Poi”-related creations—artworks that variously represent his muse named “Poi” (short for “Path Of Imagination”). As Ochiai explains this character, “I found him through my own imagination but now Poi manifests himself in countless forms, on canvas, in concrete, and with paint immersing himself in the colors I absorb. Poi gives me the happiness that I hope to bring to the world.” He notes that these visual expressions “represent my emotions and experiences at that particular moment of my life – whether stemming from reality or my own imagined dreamscapes.” Colorful, large paintings fill walls like bursts of energy, all centered on depictions of Poi. Borders of creeping flowers, concentric circles of color evoking the mandala, and bright, otherworldly orbs of light frame the unique figure. Ochiai’s works are colorful swirls of love and lust, earthly experience and otherworldly possibility. The paintings pull in viewers to share a moment of connection with Poi, this messenger of love, and envision a dream of another reality.
A third artist, NAOYA, born in 1958, began his artistic career in Japan by assisting his father, Nagae Rokuya, a major figurative sculptor who worked in wood. Nurturing his creativity in this familial context, NAOYA soon cultivated his own style and creative concepts, shaping representational figures that express his own philosophical worldview. Today, NAOYA populates the imaginary world that he designs, which he calls POLYKANTEN, with fairy-like children, animals with human personalities, and animistic goddesses. The creatures are all related, he says, though each one has its own reason for being. The main character, PEPO, loves marshmallows, is an only child, is shy, and can dance. PEPO travels freely through space-time, traverses the many different planes of the universes, and has a head visually represented by the Pepo-Kabocha, a type of squash. The symbolic meanings of the characters’ visual forms reveal themselves as one learns more about their personalities and roles in the multiverse narrative. PEPO is accompanied by TOKO-chan, who loves apple pie, picture books, and is slightly stubborn; KIKO-chan, who gets cold and lonely easily, and dreams of befriending a cat on Earth; P-chan, who loves candy, taking walks, is resolute and sisterly; and many more. These unique characters all hail from the world of POLYKANTEN, this parallel place where boundaries and dimensions are fuzzy, chaos and order seem synonymous, and creative innovation seems unbounded. Monochromatic figures, painted entirely in white, stare out with curious and blank expressions, begging for questions about the other worldly places they occupy. Believing in the possibility and potential of multiple universes, NAOYA creates these characters to visit with us here on Earth. This December, the “Wataruship” (spaceship) from POLYKANTEN will land at the Art Miami fair, offering a rare opportunity to meet these characters and dream ourselves into another world through NAOYA’s honed artistic skill and sharpened imagination.
This slate of artists will transport viewers across cultural, physical, and metaphysical geographies with their eye-popping, innovative artistic achievements. For more information, contact Nana Onishi at 212-695-8035, or by email at [email protected].