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Frantic Gallery
IID 1F, 2-4-5 Ikejiri
Setagaya, Tokyo
Japan 154-0001   map * 
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2011 Frantic Underlines
by Frantic Gallery
Location: Frantic Gallery
Artist(s): Naritaka SATOH, Macoto MURAYAMA, Taisuke MOHRI, Naoki SASAYAMA, Cousteau TAZUKE, Atsushi TAKAHASHI, Katsuya SUGIMOTO
Date: 27 Jun - 31 Jul 2011

In the short pause between the European art events that just ended and the cascade of Asian Art Fairs soon to follow, Frantic Gallery will launch its annual show, summarizing this year’s experiments by the gallery’s represented artists as well as exhibiting the first fruits borne from collaborations with talents that are new to us. Being opened during Tokyo Art Week and expecting an international audience, we would like to bring seven artists under one roof and underline their achieved results and future artistic direction. “2011 FRANTIC UNDERLINES” Exhibition is also a great opportunity for us to collect in the gallery space more than 40 works, which will depart to key Asian Art events right after the show, providing a chance for Japanese curators, press, and art lovers a sneak-peek preview of what’s to come. Works by Naoki Sasayama, Naritaka Satoh and Atsushi Takahashi will leave for Art Taipei to the “Uncanny and Sorrow in Monochrome and Color” Exhibition, while works of Taisuke Mohri, Macoto Murayama and Katsuya Sugimoto will be presented at the top mainland China art fair ShContemporary. After a long period of exhibition postponements and a sorrowful mood in Tokyo, Frantic Gallery will launch its group show with full force and draw 2,011 lines under the names of those with whom it would be honored to think about art together.

Curator: ENTOMORODIA curatorial net/work

Frantic underlines Atsushi Takahashi, who squeezes paint on canvas creating "oil carpets" which offer colorful interplay of numerous oil-tubes at close inspection and a definite image with rich characters and complicated situations from afar. It is a part of Atsushi’s talent to unite in one piece both childish sensitivity and emotional depth: there is simplicity and tenderness as well as tension and threat in his works. The colorfulness of Takahashi’s art rarely excludes sadness of the depicted personages. The artist works both with acrylic and oil, but without brush. Takahashi leaves no touch, no traces of artist’s hands, but manages to stress the materiality of the painting at the same time: oil paint is both a means of representation and an object. Covered with gloss that protects the intersections and layers of paint from peeling, Takahashi’s images emit a certain glow, while the white spaces, nothing else than white canvas itself, interact with the voluminous net of squeezed paint with surprising strength of illusion and visual calmness. Takahasi’s work is one of the examples of the painting where innovative technique comes together with emotional adventure and form and content become inseparable categories.

Frantic underlines Cousteau Tazuke whose unconventional painting technique reveals sophisticated and intense imaginary. The artist carves clear acrylic panels, pours acid-colored paint in the resulting cavities and then exhibits these works backwards. By doing this, Tazuke subverts the opposition of the front and the rear -- the positive and negative -- of the picture: the onlooker faces the back of the painting seeing colorful substances through transparent acrylic resin. In some of the works the artist attaches a mirror pellicle to the painted side or makes openings in the picture plane, thus combining both sides of the painting and bringing them into the visual experience of the onlooker. Recently Tazuke started a series of painting with The Grid pattern. The Grid in the latest works makes the above mentioned structure even more complicated adding new links and overlapping into 5mm thin plexiglas. In this way the artist proposes a radically different approach to the traditional fine art through his experiments regarding the structure and topology of two-dimensional art.

Frantic underlines Katsuya Sugimoto who combines his fantasy world filled with pocket-size toys and tender humor with an unchild-like technique: the synthesis that gives his latest pieces an uncanny feel. Sugimoto collected hundreds of colorful plastic toy-figures and miniature car-models, which he brings into 2dimentional art of painting while preserving and stressing their “sweet tactility”, “pretty volume” and “lovable expressiveness”. Sugimoto works in hyperrealistic technique but develops its main features. First, as classical photorealist he concentrates on the reflections and play of light, but in his case it is a “hyperreal glow” on fruits or sweets, which stretches visual effect to anatomical dimension, provoking feeling of lusciousness both in visual and physiological senses. Second, he puts all his strength on 3-dimentional representations, but in the same time develops interplay of 2-dimentional planes. Hinting on traditional Japanese paintings, clouds or blots in Sugimoto’s works contra-play with illusion of depth and shades. This approach allows Sugimoto to synthesize on one canvas flatness and dynamism, realistic objectiveness and air of imagination.

Frantic underlines Macoto Murayama who creates computer generated botanical drawings, bringing an ancient tradition of flower illustration into the digital age. Pre-modern visuality meets here with cutting-edge technology; natural forms intertwine with scientific sharpness and descriptive precision. In a new series of works dedicated to the flower called Commelina Communis (commonly known as Asiatic Dayflower) Murayama gives three possible views of one plant in large scale: top, side and front views both with black and white background. He develops his approach by adding multiple details (of a bud, stamen, petal) to the general “technical drawing” of the flower. Furthermore, Murayama uses color for the separate parts, which makes flower’s transparent architecture even more intricate and captivating.

Frantic underlines Naoki Sasayama who reflects on the recent March 11 earthquake in Japan and the nuclear disaster that followed. Created in black watercolor, his series titled “Black Rain” (symbolic image of radiation related disasters) reminds one of the animals that were abandoned in the 30km seclusion area and how they eventually died of hunger. The painting “Once Again” disagrees with the common delusion that the Japanese nation has never experienced a nuclear problem, bringing in symbols of Nagasaki (that suffered from nuclear explosion in World War II) and Godzilla (a poplar national monster that was born due to radiation exposure). The painting insists on the masochistic nature of atomic trauma that permanently reminds about itself,, repeating itself again and again.

Frantic underlines Naritaka Sato who brushes up his hyperreal technique, uniting drawing (strict lines) and painterly effects (spots and brushstrokes) and sharpening the feeling of uncanny in his last "Pleasure on a Palm". Satoh continues to work on the topic of children and their environment but brings in new elements. Firstly, he creates a stage: his recent work uses curtains to enclose the subjects in a smaller space, adding the feeling of anxiety and foreboding to his works. “Pleasure on a Palm” also offers an effect of elevation: five rabbit balloons are fastened to a child’s hands. The balloons seem at once to control the child like a marionette on a string as well as be controlled by him. Dichotomous analogies like puppet and human, master and slave, natural and artificial tightly intertwine, drawing the onlooker in the more one looks into it.

Frantic underlines Taisuke Mohri, who's pencil opens and stretches a drawn body, starting a new tradition of "lay-outs" for his "Skin-Portraits". It is not the inner world of a person that interests Mohri; being an “anatomical formalist”, he is interested in what covers the inner world, the upper layer of a person, namely: the skin. Mohri, using his hyperreal technique, create pencil drawings with a focus on wrinkles, spots and veins that ultimately converge into a character. In recent works Mohri pushes his “anti-humanistic” artistic stance even further. He omits eyes (the mirror of soul) and even mouths and noses (physical entrances to the Inside). Without showing the inner world in both physical and spiritual senses he “opens” the person, widening the surface of a body, presenting the Ego of a personage as its upper pellicle, insisting on “Image as Skin”.

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