Something to go check out in NYC in the next few months, Japanese painter Tomoo Gokita just opened a solo show at Mary Boone Gallery's 541 West 24th Street location. We have a paintings from the show here, plus a collection of paintings from the past few years in our picture gallery, all featuring Gokita's beautiful use of acrylic gouache, and charcoal.
With a lifelong practice of drawing, professional experience in graphic design, and early success in creating newsprint books, Tomoo Gokita began around 2005 to create works on canvas that demonstrated his virtuosity with tonal range. For the current show, in paintings of varying sizes, he presents dazzling possibilities for black and white. Velvety matte black gouache contrasts with pristine white gesso. Smears, scrapes, scumbles, and drips introduce every texture, character, and gradation of gray. The paintings have the restraining effect of Photostats of very colorful subjects.
These subjects - all portraits - are a source of intrigue. By giving the paintings titles such as Showgirl, Geisha Girl, A Bathing Beauty, Cocktail Pianist from Acapulco, Daughter of a Fraudster, A Female Spy, Gokita points to dated archetypes lifted from pulp fiction, Hollywood rags, and film noir. The full or half-length figures appear in a state of deconstruction or deterioration appropriate to their origin in memory, their resurrection from the past: flesh morphs and melts, with faces obscured by a mask or veil of paint. Like the cryptic fantasies of the Surrealist painters, Gokita conjures a world at once humorous and disconcerting. Tomoo Gokita was born in 1969 in Tokyo, Japan, where he continues to live and work.
This is his first show with Mary Boone Gallery. The exhibition, at 541 West 24 Street, will run through 1 March 2014.