Koichi Sato Takes Us On a "Ecstasy Journey" in Hong Kong
One of the most popular side events during last week's Hong Kong art week was the popup show by Koichi Sato which went down at the WOAW store in Wan Chai. Organized by Ross + Kramer Gallery and Bill Brady Gallery who joined forces with the local powerhouse that is Kevin Poon, Ecstasy Journey will be on view through April 8th, 2019.
After Miami debut with Bill Brady in 2017 and NYC exhibition with Ross + Kramer the following year, Ecstasy Journey further explores Sato's signature visual language constructed from patches of vibrant colors. In a way continuing the legacy of Sumi-e, renowned Japanese ink painting technique that influenced generations of contemporary artists, the artist is constructing his portraiture-based imagery from patches of acrylics. Mixed with Flashe vinyl paint that creates dense texture effect evoking the finest examples of Kusama's net paintings, the images reveal their contents as the viewer starts reading through these seemingly expressive marks. Blending his subjects with the lively background, adorning them with heavily patterned outfits, and teaming them up with unexpected pets or accessories, the artist moved his focus from bodybuilders and wrestlers to pretty much any time or place.
Featuring both Mariachis and Rastas, ancient Egyptians and Christian icons, or folk band and African tribesmen, Sato provides a unique overview of Ecstasy Journey away from the everyday life of his current home that is bustling New York City. Self though and proud of his creations, the artist is working quickly and relentlessly through his canvases, leaving no negative space and blurring the lines between the subjects, backgrounds, foliage, and additional elements. The final intricate image captures the raw creative force put into each of these pieces that are shining brightly with vibrant positivism and happiness. —Sasha Bogojev