Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tat Ito

Last night I attended the opening of Tat Ito's show with Hiro Kurata at Joshua Liner gallery in Chelsea. I've been a huge fan of Tat Ito's work since he was at NYAA, and am honored to know him.

"Kagutsuchi" 2009 24 h x 48 h x 1 3/8 d Acrylic and silver leaf on canvas

His work fits into the Superflat constellation of Westernized Japanese art whose center of gravity is Murakami and his Kaikai Kiki corporation, for whom Tat worked for a time. Accordingly Tat Ito sees Japanese artists' adaptations of Western culture, which Occidentals love or orientalize, as a miniscus, or thin layer of oil on the water of Japanese culture. The beauty is in the surfaceness - aptly, the analogy flattens as well, for the paintings are themselves thin layers of colorful oil, often with metal leaf.

“Pledge at Amé no Mihashira” 2009, Dimension: 30 h x 30 h x 1 3/8 d inch, Medium: Acrylic and Silver leaf on canvas

I adore artists who make narrative paintings without a single focus, pattern without exact repetition. Tat's oil paintings are combinations of abstract spatial elements and tiny figures. The sameness of the figures has been increasing but the sense of variety and directionality, particularly through use of minimal linear and orthographic perspective, is still there. The multitudes never feel like singular mobs, and the narrative directs distant viewings of traditional myths.

Zombies, the undead metameme.

“Izanaki and Izanami reunite” 2009, Dimension: 24 h x 20 w x 1 3/8 d inch, Medium: Acrylic and Silver leaf on canvas

I'm really looking forward to seeing what more Ito makes.

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