The Way of Painting at Tokyo Opera City Gallery
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Masaya Chiba’s installation
Courtesy of the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery

Painting is undergoing a renaissance of late, expanding in terms of both meaning and desirability. Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery’s latest group show ‘The Way of Painting’ is proof enough. The object-orientated painting and installation of Masaya Chiba not only hangs from the wall and a piece of custom furniture but also occupies the near-ceiling; out of reach and almost out of sight. An inset video captures an audience becoming part of the painting itself. It’s a tactic not lost on painter Shimon Minamikawa, whose performance panels welcome you in near the entrance. Daisuke Takahashi’s paintings are as physical as they are colourful while colour and pattern dominate work by Shunsuke Imai, Satoshi Ohno and even Yutaka Aoki with Aoki taking advantage of museum lighting with great affect. Kazuyuki Takezaki is one of a number who questions the way in which painting absorbs everyday objects and furnishings. On the other hand, Toshiyuki Konishi’s brush strokes appear more delicate and detailed the closer you look. The atmosphere throughout is resolutely positive though the show is at times ram-packed with certain named galleries dominating the main space with one or two artists work. This was later pointed out to me by someone else, so if you go unaware you’re not likely to notice. The physical work is lumped together instead of being thoughtfully placed and hard to wade through at times. Its a minor criticism but one worth mentioning as its also the area that most full of promise. With Chiba and Minamikawa placed so close together things feel like they would benefit from being planned more strategically, venturing beyond the wall and the solitary canvas. With much on show coming from the an emerging generation of Japanese painters to be repeatedly shown outside of Japan since the ’80s, it is clear these ‘painters’ have preoccupations beyond painting, happily turning formal approaches to painting upside down in the process — www.operacity.jp/ag/exh166/

 

Originally published on August 4, 2014