Misaki Kawai at NADA
June 21 – July 30, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION: Tuesday, June 21, 6-8 PM
Eric Firestone Gallery presents:
MISAKI KAWAI | NADA NYC | PIER 36
BOOTH 4.02 | MAY 14 – 17, 2015
Eric Firestone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring new paintings and sculptures by Misaki Kawai at NADA New York 2015. The works on view have been culled from her recent residency in East Hampton, NY, in Winter and Spring of 2015. Her time on the East End has offered Kawai the opportunity to develop ongoing narratives as well as create new ones from a remote and peaceful environment not easily found in Tokyo or New York, where the artist lives and works. For the show, Kawai has constructed a table propped upon sculptures of boxer briefs and t-shirts, and chairs that resemble oversized sneakers with a logo that simply reads, “nice.” The imagery in this new series is an overt nod to the commodity and consumer culture that serves as her inspiration.
Kawai isolates the objects and characters that are recurrent in her day-to-day life, as she animates iconic symbols such as cars and furry pets, and combines them with imaginary smiling beasts and cartoons. Often browsing flea markets, 99-cent stores and street vendors near her Bushwick apartment, Kawai finds inexpensive goods emblematic of the real and imagined communities unique to her. These objects are often self-referential, and populate her work, which includes self-portraits that mirror her mood while she works in her studio. For example, she paints a cerulean girl with coiffed plum hair, tears welling up and streaming down her face as she dabs them with a tissue. She explains that it embodies a sad day.
Composition naturally underscores storyline through suspended, whimsical imagery. Kawai employs bold, primary colors, enticing the viewer into scenes with comical characters in strange circumstances; Such as an absurdly colored lion and tiger frolicking as lovers, juxtaposed against an opaque crimson background painted in a pixilated, almost analogue style reminiscent of early video games and animation.
The humor and playfulness that is engrained in the culture of her hometown of Osaka, known as Japan’s comedy capital, has tremendously influenced her style and subject matter. Moreover, popular Japanese iconography may have prescribed her use of the Superflat technique. The Superflat movement explores consumerism and sexual fetishism prevalent in post-war Japanese culture, flattening imagery in order to highlight the shallow emptiness of what it depicts. Kawai uses this technique to depict her unique internal dialogue, which is both intensely personal, and universally accessible.
Kawai has exhibited extensively internationally with solo museum exhibitions at ICA Boston; PS1 MOMA, New York; Tokyo Opera City Gallery, Tokyo; Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Other notable exhibitions include Deitch Projects, New York; Valencia Institute of Contemporary Art, Valencia, Spain; Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan; and The Children’s Museum of Art, New York.