Tomoo Gokita Goes "Moo" and Masayuki Shioda is the "Retinagazer" in Tokyo
Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo concludes the summer with two strong shows, presenting Masayuki Shioda’s first solo exhibition with the gallery at their Photography/Film space and their fifth solo presentation with Japanese icon, Tomoo Gokita. Encompassing their passion for contemporary photography and film as well as their affection for cutting-edge contemporary painting, Retinagazer and Moo are on view through September 26,2020, available for in-person viewing by appointment.
Shioda’s solo debut Retinagazer features approximately 110 works selected from a massive body of work made over 24 years, during which he "investigated the essence of photography with conceptual and methodological uniqueness to generate coherent photographic expression." The curated works draw primarily from his 2004 series DOGOOHAIR, where the artist contemplated the relations of images through snapshots. His earliest images comprise snapshots of friends, music performances - and cats - are also in the show, along with a series that treats abstract photography as music, as well as experimental works and the recent portraits. Included is the epic three-part DAILY BLEACH (2001-2019) series, which represents past, present, and future through the Japanese concepts of ke (quotidian) and hare (extraordinary), reflecting the artist’s deep engagement with his surroundings. The exhibition marks the release of a new publication Retinagazer, a book composed of previous works that present these concepts in a portable, print version.
Following his last showcase with the gallery three years ago, and his recent solo show with Massimo De Carlo in Milan, Moo features exclusively, for the first time in Japan, Tomoo Gokita's new color paintings. Although principally for his drawings and black and white gouache works, the artist has continued to evolve and expand his practice, experimenting with different techniques, mediums, aesthetics, and formats. Such creative trials resulted in well-received blue paintings, a series of early stenciled works, collages, and even sculptures.
With his most recent, color paintings, Gokita re-purposes the techniques developed through gouache works and produces blanched, mostly abstracted figurative images. With expressive, bold, and intuitive brushwork, the entire body of work exults in the artist's impulsive and genuine approach to painting. Regularly sourcing the inspiration and core structure from found vintage photos, he proceeds to blur and deconstruct the representational portions of the image. Whether completely removing the face, adding key features onto alien-like shapes, or emulating the patina and naivety of vintage magazines and photos, the works showcase his experimental, curious nature. The exclusive use of subdued shades of brown, orange, purple, and pink, also contribute to the retro-feel in which the images reside. Further on, these exercises in both technical and contextual fields expand to floral arrangements and pattern pieces that continue onto his Fake Cézanne series, all the way to fully abstract works to which Gokita has always felt a keen attraction. —Sasha Bogojev