The term loiter is often associated with misfits who refuse to engage in productive activities. In reality, idle hours can be exceedingly productive for those who require rest periods between hyper-productive moments. Loiter, Japanese artist Jun Oson’s inaugural solo exhibition at Harman Projects, celebrates people “full of doubts with no strong will” in a culture that glorifies productive drive and prolific output. Speculating that Japanese cultural output may be a religion or life guide in its own right, Oson’s paintings show a world of respite and amusement in a playful style, offering an optimistic view of time spent idle. 

A handful of paintings in this series depict cube-shaped cars and a recognizable cast of humanoid characters driving them—isolated, alone, and bored. Rendering existing automobiles in the chunky style of Choro-Q toys, Oson blends the functional car and the drudgery of commuting with the fun and nostalgia of childhood play. In a flat profile, the works almost appear digital in their smooth simplicity. The artist reveals his hand in rough, unblended brushstrokes that contrast with the untextured objects, bringing the highly stylized works back into our reality.

The vignettes in this new series of paintings show the characters wandering, observing, looking for things to do. Inspired by Japanese-rooted illustration styles like Manga or Anime, these flat, playful scenes show the characters nonchalantly rowing a boat across smooth turquoise waters, taking note of the dusty pink and mustard yellow hills; wading through lush, leafy blue-green jungles; planting a flag at the top of a mountain reaching space; finding secret treasures. Other times, the friend group gathers around a tree, passing the time together without “doing” anything. Creating their own life-guiding principles, the characters in Oson’s work show that adventure and community are just around the corner, if one is brave enough to loiter around waiting for it.

Join Harman Projects for the opening of Loiter on Saturday, July 13th, from 6 pm to 8 pm at 2754 S La Cienega Blvd b.