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First solo exhibition by Japanese artist Kaoruko opens at the Mike Weiss Gallery
KAORUKO, Aroma Exersize, 2010, 85 x 122 inches, Acrylic, screen printing and sumi on canvas. Photo: Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.
NEW YORK, N.Y.- Mike Weiss Gallery presents its first solo exhibition by Japanese artist KAORUKO. Aromako, a play on words combining the artist’s name and visual theme of the work, explores the complexity of the modern Japanese woman in terms of her relationship with herself and tradition. Using acrylic paint, traditional sumi calligraphy techniques and silk screened kimono patterns, KAORUKO creates large-scale paintings which depict women in their private domestic spaces.

Drawing upon both the rich cultural history of her homeland as well as her experiences as a former Japanese pop star, KAORUKO’s female figures are set against highly codified motifs sourced from traditional woodblock prints and Japanese textiles. The luscious hues, and flattened planes of KAORUKO’s paintings are frequently inspired by the Ukiyo-e ‘floating world’ prints of the Edo period, and her inclusion of wave and ocean designs, which denote ‘happiness’ and ‘mystery’, speak to her overarching themes of transcendence and universal love.

While KAORUKO’s women are presented in various stages of undress, the artist insists this is not an eroticized state but rather a rare, intimate glimpse into their private lives and the friendship between them. In this series, the women inhale one another’s bodily odors, a gesture of familiarity that is a decidedly feminist stance against the significance placed by Japanese culture on pristine modesty. The very acknowledgment of these odors goes against the idealized fantasy of the yamato nadeshiko (a literal translation of this is ‘Japanese dianthus flowers’ meaning ‘women with traditional Japanese beauty’) and the social construct of kawaii, which values the feminine in terms of ‘adorability’ and ‘cuteness.’ In revealing their skin, as well as the truth about their bodies that lie concealed behind a mask of yamato nadeshiko perfection, KAORUKO illustrates the dichotomy of the contemporary Japanese women. This woman has cleverly learned to balance traditional expectations— signified by the inclusion of time-honored motifs—with her modern lifestyle.

Born in Nagoya, Japan, KAORUKO is a self-taught artist who is now living and working in New York City.



Today's News

November 17, 2011

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MoMA presents new acquisitions from artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Senga Nengudi, and Albert Oehlen

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Sotheby's London sales of Modern & Post-War British art conclude with a combined total of $13.5 million

Stadel Museum inaugurates an entirely new presentation of the modern art collection

Paris Photo 2011: Strong sales and a unanimous success for the 1st edition at the Grand Palais

Christie's Hong Kong announces sales of important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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Nocturnal angels take flight with heavenly messages from the divine at G Fine Art

Conversations in Clay: West Meets East: A Collector's Perspective at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd.

Exhibition in Strasbourg celebrates Tomi Ungerer's 80th anniversary

Lee Maelzer's fascination for the mediated image on view at Poppy Sebire

Thomas Del Mar Ltd to auction antique arms, armour and militaria in London

First solo exhibition by Japanese artist Kaoruko opens at the Mike Weiss Gallery

Baltimore Museum of Art exhibits contemporary images by acclaimed German photographer Candida Höfer

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