Tomoo Gokita's distinctive paintings - each rendered in a lush range of black, gray, and white tones - evoke a fictional world of crooners and starlets, gangsters and gun molls, bimbos and honchos. Gokita's choice of a colorless palette enforces the sense that his images derive from retro films or photographs, although, with their character-driven narrative and shallow space, they also embrace the sensibility of contemporary Japanese comics (manga) or graphic novels (gekiga).
Equally compelling as the subjects of his paintings is the way Gokita manipulates the paint to achieve an array of visual effects. A glimpse of clothing or incidental background object may be rendered with sharply observed patterning and texture, while a face - usually our foundation for assessing an individual - is often no more than a haze of smeared paint. By obscuring these figures' particular features and expressions, Gokita turns his cast into masked archetypes, redoubling their origin in memory, imagination, and fantasy.
Opening reception at Mary Boone Gallery: Saturday, September 10th from 5-7pm