Opening October 17 at Mike Weiss Gallery: “ENN” by KAORUKO


KAORUKO / Open / 2013


Opening October 17
Reception 6 – 8 pm

520 W 24 NYC
212 691 6899

Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present ENN, KAORUKO’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Synthesizing a thorough understanding of Western modernism and traditional Japanese artistry, ten monumental paintings offer an unabashed glimpse of female figures behind closed doors – ninhibited, disrobed, and mid-gesture. Intermingling silkscreened kimono patterns, sumi calligraphy, rich acrylics, and graphite tracing, an eloquent portrait of hybrid identity emerges which unravels the intricate nature of human connection, as well as the unknown forces of destiny, love, and chance encounter.

KAORUKO / Oideyo / 2013 / Acrylic, silk screen, gold leaf, and graphite on canvas / 84 1/2 x 108 inches

It was KAORUKO’s debut exhibition, Aromako, that first stripped away kimonos and societal expectations to reveal intimate undertones and tap into human essence. Caught interacting within private domestic spaces, pairs of women inhaled each other’s scents, acting out of familiarity in place of pristine modesty to embody concepts of endearment, acceptance, and transcendence. As a former teenage pop star, KAORUKO’s early experiences projecting the ideal woman have since been layered with four years living in NYC and the challenges of a language barrier, where tuning into gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact afforded her a keen sixth sense for the subtle nuances of interaction. Translating to predestined fate that connects total strangers, ENN expands upon the unseen ties that bind us all.

1121.jpgKAORUKO / Oideyo / Detail image / 2013

While this body of work bares the markings of today’s cultural trends (cell phones, nail polish, teddy bears and the like), and portrays domestic spheres in the vein of Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney, its homage to tradition is unmistakable. Gold leaf clouds and floral motifs scatter across a new grouping of female figures, sourcing inspiration from the Byōbu folding screens that filled homes of the flourishing Edo period. In this style of Ukiyo-e "floating world" paintings, works like Sumo push banal, everyday subject matter and daily activities center stage, taking a witty and irreverent approach to representation. Red String tells the Japanese tale of soulmates bound at the pinky by an invisible thread, layering intricate woodblock patterning, textile prints, and the artist’s origami signature; and it is Stocking that perhaps best indicates the perspectival depth and hidden meaning lurking beneath the surface.


KAORUKO / Red string / 2013 / Acrylic, oil, gold leaf, graphite, and embroidery thread on canvas / 100 x 74 inches

In true sumi fashion, it is with deep feeling that KAORUKO depicts harmony between her native upbringing and 21st century present. Retaining the customs of her homeland while operating from a certain feminist freedom, KAORUKO depicts a marked evolution of artistic practice, societal roles, and the artist herself.


KAORUKO / Oideyo / Detail image / 2013

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


KAORUKO / Stocking / 2013 / Acrylic, sumi, gold leaf, and graphite on canvas

Mike Weiss Gallery
520 W 24 NYC
Open Tues-Sat 10 – 6pm
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