Tomoo Gokita's Monochromatic Mastery at London's Massimo De Carlo
Tomoo Gokita will present his debut solo exhibition with Massimo De Carlo gallery in London, on March 5th. Showing an ambitious selection of 21 new paintings, this exhibition is shaping up to be his first major showcase since his retrospective-like presentation at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery back in April 2018.
Working across numerous techniques and mediums, from illustration-over-painting to calligraphy, the world-renowned artist developed a highly distinctive visual language based on the noirish aesthetic of a monochrome palette. Confidently manipulating the endless shades of grey on canvas, Gokita is able to create a great sense of depth, a velvety surface, and compelling images.
Often reworking portrayals of vintage wrestlers, pinups, or fallen celebrities, the artist reconstructs these images into absurd depictions of alternate realities in which common features are blurred into twists and smears of paint. These obliterations evoke a sense of empathy when observing subjects captured in their most presentable pose, yet still painfully grotesque. These works function as subtle commentaries of the global mindscape in which everyone manages their individual reality through social network presentation. By obscuring the subjects and parodying their form, Gokita conveys the irony of how self-important we treat our physical reality. Often using passed-time celebrities as his source of inspiration, it feels as if these works point out the ephemeral nature of fame and celebrity status that our global community is so obsessed with. Simultaneously, he uses his bold painterly technique and profound tonal range to create abstract compositions that can appear surreal and semi-organic.––Sasha Bogojev