Current Art Gallery Exhibition
Nov. 5 - Nov. 23, 2022
"There Let be light; There was light #1"
gold paint, Acrylic, sumi on mulberry paper
59 x 33 in
Mizuma & Kips is pleased to present a solo exhibition “MELD GOLD” by TANAKA Sao from Nobember 5th to 23rd. Tanaka's paintings in her solo exhibition, Meld Gold, shows us the form an amorphous substance captures within a moment. Tanaka finds inspiration in the unidentifiable, golden cloud connecting the different scenes in Rakucyurakugaizu; Rakucyurakugaizu is a style of Japanese painting that originates in the medieval times regarding city landscapes. She associates the form of the golden clouds with substances in our contemporary period, such as radiation from a power plant and the invisible presence of a virus in a pandemic.
Tanaka employs objects in between figurative and abstract states, reminding us of a kind of instability, ambiguity, and inexplicability within her works.
She depicts the liminal moment crossing the boundary of contrary identities: east and west, past and present, life and death, vulgar and sublime, sacred and profane, mellow and macabre, idiocy and sagacity, light and darkness. The golden haze in her painting link through all of them.
Sao Tanaka is based in New York and Tokyo. Although she focuses on painting, she also works in installation, photography and video. She holds a BFA in Japanese painting (Nihonga) from Tama Art University in Tokyo and a MA in cultural anthropology from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. She also studied fine art and digital photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her family has dedicated themselves to preserving ancient Japanese paintings and honoring their traditional methods of art. Thus, she draws from East Asian art history as well as their, past and present, relations with the West.
She utilizes East Asian techniques and materials such as woodcut printing, the brush work of Chinese landscape paintings, washi paper, and Sumi ink. She is intrigued by the twisted notion of identity building that lays underneath the founding of such materials. For example, washi paper was created to enhance Japanese identity in response to the fear of Western cultural domination. Her fluidity to her works highlights that Japan’s culture would not be called its own without the influence of foreign cultures. Thus, there is no true divide between nations as culture has no border.
Sao Tanaka has shown her works at Mizuma & Kip’s in New York, SVA Gallery, ASYAAF Art Fair in Korea, Bunkamura Gallery in Japan, and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan