海岸 1999 acrylic on paper 55.3 × 75.0 cm ©Masahiko Kuwahara

Opening Reception: January 10, 2019 at 6-8pm

8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present “Summer Days”, a solo exhibition of works by Masahiko Kuwahara.
Kuwahara started exhibiting his work in the 1980s, and throughout his practice has consistently conveyed the sense of absurdity and unease manifest in landscapes and people that have been subject to change through modernization. As an artist born and raised during Japan’s period of high economic growth, his paintings appear to embody the distortions and umbras that had permeated the times contrarily to its outward prosperity. Such concerns with social discourses had however declined since the latter half of the 1990s as his works became more private and began to focus on his inner self, shifting to a more lighthearted and humorous manner of expression.
The exhibition features a selection of the artist’s works centering on those produced between 1997 and 2001.
Viewers are invited into the world of Kuwahara’s work as conceived through pale color tones and blurred outlines, suggesting feelings of lonesome sadness while also conveying a peculiar and inseparable air of happiness.

【About the Exhibition】
The works presented in this exhibition had been produced back when I first began presenting my work with Tomio Koyama Gallery. Most of what is depicted is based on scenery that I had observed as a child. Although I may slightly exaggerate, these paintings could be described as being located in the very ancient stratum of the various landscapes I have continued to depict thus far.
Reuniting with past works seem to present a good opportunity for me to confirm and reflect on myself now, at this current moment in time.
ーMasahiko Kuwahara

Artist Profile

Masahiko Kuwahara

Masahiko Kuwahara started exhibiting his work in the 1980s. He has consistently expressed a sense of absurdity with regard to scenery and humanity being changed by modernization. Inorganic buildings and sceneries created by Japan’s economic prosperity during the 1960s and 70s, dolls and toys that were consumed and abandoned to anonymity, and uncanny creatures living by polluted water, are the primary scenery in which Kuwahara himself grew up. He depicts their sadness in light and humorous ways, assimilated with pale color tones and blurred outlines, suggesting our contemporary feelings of fleeting emptiness, dullness, and loneliness, yet also enabling us to sense a mysterious kind of happiness.

Born in Tokyo in 1959. He has held nine solo exhibitions with Tomio Koyama Gallery: “Abandoned Child” (1997), “View” (1999), “Life and Pus” (2001), “Land Development” (2005), “In the End of Summer” (2007), “Window” (2008), “Sweet and Desserts” (2010), “Only in Dream” (2012), and “Bright Days” (2015). He has also hold two solo exhibitions at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, the United States, in 2001 and 2008.

His major group exhibitions include “TOKYO POP” (Hiratsuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa, 1996), “The Japanese Experience – Inevitable” (Ursula Blickle Stiftung Foundation, Kraichtal, Germany, 2002; traveled to Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria in 2004), “POPjack: Warhol to Murakami” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, 2002), “Japan Pop” (Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, 2005), “Portrait Session” (NADiff, Tokyo / Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, 2007) and “Pathos and Small Narratives” (Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 2011).