October 11 – November 11, 2018
312 Bowey, NYC
Misaki Kawai brings us an exhibition all the way from her hometown of Osaka, Japan, fresh Japanese water included. Made with acrylic paint and river water, all artworks in her new show, “Pine Cone Times,” were created al fresco and occasionally enjoyed the support of Kawai’s 3-year-old daughter Poko. “Pinecone Pond” which included a big barn and meandering river was the setting for the creation of these paintings. These new paintings are what Misaki calls “sloppy style” or the improvisational style that she has implemented many times in her career. It captures her inventiveness and sense of humor that is an intrinsic part of “Heta-Uma” or “Good/Bad” style of artmaking that developed in Japan.
“Faces are so wrong they are right, the flower pot is so misshapen that it is perfect, the dog’s face is deformed but evocative. That is the approach of Heta-Uma and here we find both misshapen dogs and cats, girls and boys, flowers and footwear. With a no-comment black background in every piece, the oddities themselves are presented straightforwardly. She isn’t making a scene or an environment; her work is more deadpan symbolic like that of Donald Baechler or King Terry in Japan.”
Equally evocating but different in approach, Jonathan Chapline’s technique for his exhibit titled, “Material Memory,” is mostly digital. Like Avery Singer and many other young artists, Chapline uses 3D programs to sketch out and render artworks in ways previously impossible. The style of the program lends itself to arranging slabs in space and then pulling them out into thickness and volume; the light function allows you to shine digital light across the surfaces to see mathematically how it would bend and reflect.
“The digital sketching and carefully constructed application get you through the how-it-was-made bit; however, the content of the works and their compositional and color choices help us get to the why. All ten new paintings in the show are horizontal; architecturally-interesting domestic interiors, still lifes, bathers. And each feels like an HD panoramic-ratio movie still. Light in the paintings seems to be the protagonist as it wraps around the faceted forms and pools in colorful shadows, while the occasional knife or power drill or broken bottle adds a hint of threat. The one sculpture in the show is a curious extract of the paintings: both figures and figurines appear in the paintings, and it is unclear whether this sculpture is a sculpture of a sculpture. It certainly looks to reference Henri Matisse, so perhaps it is a 3D rendering of a 2D collage work from the Post-Impressionist master. The title “Digital Artifact” suggests that this form is based on a 3D program misreading or messing up the translation of the original cutout, and adds a new layer to our interpretation of the exhibition; perhaps it is more in the slippages than the successes in his use of technology that the artist finds inspiration.”