'Year of the Horse' galloped off to a good start in the arts with
the opening of a new building containing three gallery spaces. GALERIA
is a purpose built gallery building in Aoyama, the opening of which was
celebrated by each of the galleries simultaneously opening new exhibitions.
The sleek modernist building of steel and glass is an elegant receptacle
for contemporary art. The galleries offer clean white spaces, highish
ceilings and quality lighting to display the works to their best.
New work by Harutaka Matsumoto, titled '4- ism', celebrates the move of
Gallery Gan, formerly in the Ginza area, to the ground floor of the new
site in Aoyama. In this series, Matsumoto has paired abstract with realist
paintings. At first glance, they appear unrelated Ð depictions of goats
and bears hung with an abstraction of a geometric cross.
The number four, however, from the exhibition title, gives the first clue
to their connection. Each of the realist canvases contains four fragments.
Each of the abstract paintings is divided into four sections. From there,
you quickly begin to find more associations, intended or otherwise. Color,
space, composition and subject elements begin to connect like and old
style telephone switchboard.
Mastumoto handles a variety of styles in his art through skillful manipulation
of paint. Some works contain creamy thick applications of paint while
others use layers of paint to create depth and realism. Each demonstrates
the artist's fluidity and control of his materials.
The Basement level is ironically occupied by Skydoor Gallery. The opening
show of paintings and drawings, by Tomokaz Kano, is well suited to the
His art is streetwise and gritty. Artist's graffiti -- idea tumbled onto
idea -- jumbles of lines, styles, and thoughts. Reminiscent of Jean Paul
Basquiat's work, Tomokaz's paintings are an outpouring of his inner thoughts
with whatever materials come to hand. Cardboard, wood, bits of paper are
the surfaces for frenziedly scratched drawings and paintings.
Displayed from floor to ceiling they give the space an air of late night
jazz club. In this setting his work is a soaring but chaotic, sometimes
discordant and self-indulgent solo.
On the second floor is Promo-Artre. It has moved from a site next door
where Promo-Arte has for years specialized in the art of Latin America
and the Caribbean. Continuing this theme, the opening exhibition is a
selection of works by Cuban artists. Some of which -- figurative abstractions
in greens, browns and oranges -- appears to have been taken from a 70's
The works of Sandra Ramos and Jose Bedia, however, stand out. Ramos is
represented with a series of collage works, a large painting and a small
The installation, housed in a suitcase-like plywood box, included a Cuban
flag made from colored feathers on one side and a strange seascape on
the other. At the base of the box was a strange metamorphic figure --
part baby doll part seashell.
The sea is central to Cuban life and art. Jose Bedia's, painting 'Naufragois',
depicts a sinking ship in a wide blue sea. In the foreground a figure
swims pursued by a mermaid like form. It is a haunting yet simple illustration.
|Gallery GAN, Harutake Matsumoto
Skydoor Gallery, Tomokaz Kano
Promo-Arte Gallery, Latin American Art Lobby
GALERIA, 5-51-3, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tel: GAN 03.5468-6311,
Ginza line, Omotesando