MUST SEE SHOW | TOMOO GOKITA’S NOIR PORTRAITS AT MARY BOONE GALLERY, NYC

February 15, 2014  |  art

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Simply stated, Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita is one of the most interesting and unappreciated young artists working today. A graphic artist turned painter, Gokita has developed a standout visual language punctuated by his strict palette of black, white, and shades of gray, and characterized by a sort of noir pop surrealism that could only come from Japan. For this latest show at Mary Boone, Gokita has produced some of his finest work to date, with 15 new portraits that are simultaneously figurative and abstract and tinged with dark intrigue. By giving the paintings titles such as Showgirl, Geisha Girl, A Bathing Beauty, Cocktail Pianist from Acapulco, Daughter of a Fraudster, and A Female Spy, Gokita points to dated archetypes lifted from pulp fiction, Hollywood rags, and film noir. The full or half-length figures appear in a state of deconstruction or deterioration appropriate to their origin in memory, their resurrection from the past: flesh morphs and melts, with faces obscured by a mask or veil of paint. Like the cryptic fantasies of the Surrealist painters, Gokita conjures a world at once humorous and disconcerting that must be seen in person (before we're forced to wait too long again for his next installment).

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Tomoo Gokita in repose (Bill Brady pohoto)

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KAWS, Tomoo Gokita, and art dealer Bill Brady

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