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Largest grouping of Japanese galleries outside of Asia on view at 2015 LA Art Show
Mizuho Koyama, Say I am you 2. Photo: Gallery Kitai (Tokyo).

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The largest grouping of from Japan outside of Asia will be showcasing Japanese pop surrealism and manga art at the upcoming LA Art Show, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from January 15-18, 2015.

Featured galleries include: Taimei Gallery, Mizoe Art Gallery, Gallery Kitai, Niche Gallery, Kinosho Kikau, Silver Shell, and the Tolman Collection, all from Tokyo; as well as Watanabe Fine Art and Tachibana Gallery from Osaka. 

On Friday, January 16 at 1pm, the LA Art Show will present a panel discussion on Japanese Art. Moderated by Matt Kennedy, the panel discussion will feature four Japanese artists that are being showcased among the nine Japanese galleries exhibited at the LA Art Show. Panelists include artists Tamie Okuyama (Mizoe Art Gallery), Toshimitsu Ito (Tachibana Gallery), Akira Omori (Watanabe Fine Art), and Maiko Kitagawa (Taimei Gallery). The will focus on contemporary Japanese art and their own influences.

Gallery Highlights:
Kinosho Kikaku will present a special exhibition, “Oh My Goodness! – Hiroshi Mori Solo Exhibition. Mori, an icon and innovator in the manga community, is known for his delicately embossed details and the glittering signature gold that endow each piece of work with dramatic complexness that images can never fairly portray.

While attempting to follow the footsteps of the great Japanese painting master Hishida Shunso and recreate the depth of attainment of Rimpa and Jakuchu, Mori’s works are not merely homage of the classics, but a combination of classic and modern with a strong emphasis of East meets West. Its going beyond the boundary of three-dimensional and plane two-dimensional also makes it extremely rare and difficult to define. The exhibition will focus on the “Memories” series, which Mori has been working on in recent years. The materials used for the “Memories” series are urethane, silver mirror plating and hardened resin. The series of work can be considered as a culmination of Mori’s insistent exploration of new possibilities with various kinds of materials.

Mori states, “If I were to say what distinguishes Japanese painting, I would say, "The beauty of space, ma, and the attraction of 'flatness.' " I try to develop traditional Japanese methods and styles not as a form of historical quotation, but as a mode of expression. I am always preoccupied with the challenges of adapting traditional Japanese technique for contemporary art practice. I create paintings like that remind one of the gold screen paintings of the Rinpa School, but instead of gold foil, I use industrial-grade spray paint, the method of which I learned while working in car detailing. The result: paintings that look different from Rinpa screens but may or may not be more enduring than gold foil. I am also interested in Ito Jakuchu's paintings of gamecocks. I feel that these animals and plants are anthropomorphized, and it is unclear if they are a microcosm of human affairs, or if the world of humans is a microcosm of the plant and animal worlds. In the uncertainty between the two modes of representation, I use all manner of phenomena as motifs in my own work. Of course, what I call "phenomena" are the banal experiences and the forgettable sceneries of my childhood, which I paint and recall on the canvas. Given concrete form, these images embody for me the murkiness, insecurity but also hope for the future in contemporary society. In my daily life, I seek a way to join the irreconcilable: the flat surfaces of Rinpa paintings and the wonder of children's books.”

Born in 1977, Mori likes to create works that fuses modern Japanese animations and manga together with classical paintings of the West. The glittering decorations and the contrasting facial expression of the teenage girls depicted in his works can be seen as a metaphor of our insecurity and anxiety towards today’s problematic society.

Kinosho Kikaku also represents artists Tatsuhito Horikoshi, Toko Yuma, Ken Watanabe Fine Art will feature works by artists Akira Ohmori, Hiromi Hasegawa, Kenji Tsutsumi, and Kasumi Ueba, among others.

Watanabe Fine Art focuses on contemporary paintings, prints, sculpture, iron works, pottery and porcelain. They will present an exhibition of works by Kenji Tustumi. His works sold briskly at the 2013 LA Art Show, and are expected to sell out quickly at the upcoming show

Gallery Kitai will present a solo exhibition of well-known artist Mizuho Koyama. The artist’s featured series combine letters and words through geometrical and architectural approaches. Drawing on ancient poetry such as the Japanese Man’yoshu and the works of the Persian mystic poet Rumi, Koyama forms her own designs and images in a process that utilizes ancient artifacts to build contemporary structures.

Taimei Gallery opened in Ginza, Tokyo, forty years ago with a focus on modern Japanese art, Impressionist works, and western paintings. It is the first gallery in Japan to have held an exhibition of Chagall’s posthumous works. The gallery also presents emerging Japanese artists. Taimei Gallery will present works by pop surrealist artist Maiko Kitagawa, Hiroki Kakinuma & Kaori Tamura.

Mizoe Gallery, with locations in Tokyo & Fukuoa, will present a solo exhibition of works by internationally renowned artist Tamie Okuyama among others. Okuyama believes that all things in the universe are alive, in the same way as we humans are. The sun, sea, and clouds are alive and have meaning and familiarity. Her art is like spiritual naturalism, closeness to the nature.

Niche Gallery was established by artist Tomiya Nishimura in 2000 to meet the needs of art lovers. Since then, Niche Gallery has had many shows of young, international artists and has made a name for itself as one of the leading contemporary galleries in Tokyo. The gallery will present three artists, Kazz Morishita, Yoichiro Nishida and Sakiko Nakamura. Yoichiro Nishida, lived and studied in Germany. His works have been featured internationally and are in several public collections in Japan and Germany. Artist Kazz Morishita is a photographic artist/photo realism.

Silver Shell of Tokyo will present a series of works by Masae Kato.

Tachibana Gallery represents contemporary artists including: Toshimitsu Ito, Shoko Fukumoto, Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Chika Shibata, Atsuko Nakai, Sachiko Teramura & Ryoko Fukata. For the LA Art Show, Toshimitsu Ito, a sculptor, will showcase his recent work, a large-scale sculpture of an AA60 airplane.

With locations in Tokyo & New York, The Tolman Collection showcases the largest collection of contemporary Japanese graphic art. They will exhibit a selection of artists known for taking a traditional medium and propelling it into new arenas of creativity.

The LA Art Show takes place from January 14 – 18, 2015 concurrently with the Los Angeles Jewelry, Antique & Design Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center, South Hall 1201 Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

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