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We are pleased to present the group exhibition “Wonderland” at MEGUMI OGITA GALLERY. The theme of this exhibition is for those who seek a brief escape from reality in our stressful daily lives. Staying in a familiar world can help us to maintain our peace of mind, whereas people are attracted to art because they want a more exciting and special experience. We all used to be thrilled as children to see what would happen next. The characters in wonderland evoke for the viewer the exuberance of those days. There is also a strange, yet somehow reasonable, sense of wonder, as if the fragmented dreams in a doze are connected to one another. Pablo Picasso once said, “Art is a lie that makes us realise truth.” Through the spectacle of anthropomorphic animals, giant starfish and other works by six unique artists, we are reminded that we indeed exist.

Dates

February 2-​March 16, 2024

Noon-6 PM 

Closed on Sunday, Monday and February 23

MEGUMI OGITA GALLERY

2-16-12 B1 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0061 Japan

Gary Baseman is an interdisciplinary artist who investigates history, heritage, and the human condition (especially love, longing, and loss). Through unique iconography and fantastical visual narratives that celebrate “the beauty of the bittersweetness of life,” his work brings together the worlds of popular culture and fine art. Baseman (b. 1960) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California when lifestyles dramatically shifted and politics and popular culture seeped into the home. The influence of media and Hollywood, blended with LA’s influential art scene, led to how Baseman would perceive and produce art. Baseman witnessed how artists challenged traditional art practices and crossed boundaries, and would later coin the term “Pervasive Art” to reflect his multifaceted creative output much like his predecessors and admired artists who also resisted the confines of media, styles, purposes, and audiences. Baseman transforms everyday observations and experiences into art that includes drawing, painting, photography, video, installation art, performance, as well as fashion, toy design and social media.

Gary Baseman, Spring Bunny, 2023, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Acrylic on canvas

Michael Sowa is a painter and illustrator born in Berlin, Germany. He began his career as an artist in 1992 and consolidated his reputation with the paintings and lamps used in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film “Amélie” in 2001. Sowa’s humorous and precise style, in which several elements seem to coexist in a single picture, have won his great popularity around the world, and he is also well known in Japan through his illustrations for children’s books. “The main motifs in Sowa’s work include waves, light, forests and animals, and the light in particular is carefully planned to heighten the paintings. The characters there are symbolically personified by slightly emphasising their facial expressions and movements, giving a satirical point of view and working with the viewer’s imagination to expand the image.” (Masao Aoki, “The Worldview of Michael Sowa”).

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Michael Sowa, Illustration for........, 2018, 17.5 x 33 cm, Acrylic on paper

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Yoshimasa Tsuchiya was born in 1977 and specialised in sculpture at Tokyo University of the Arts, and completed PhD, Sculpture Conservation at the postgraduate school in 2007. Tsuchiya has established the unique painting method, in which light colours appear faintly inside from the white surface of wood carving. He also uses techniques used in Buddhist statues, whereby the head is split open and stone or glass eyes are inserted, to create works with a mysterious look. The glass eye is produced by artist Fukuo Tanaka. At first glance, the work is instantly recognisable as Tsuchiya’s, and can be described as “the latest classics” with timeless originality and the power to appeal to both the present and the future. Tsuchiya’s motifs are animals as symbols, which embody intangible ideas in the shape of living creatures. The images of animals that appear in myths and tales are the origin of his ideas, and the creatures born from them have repeatedly mutated and cross-bred, taking the inspiration from improved garden plants and ornamental fish, and have developed into a variety of forms.

Yoshimasa Tsuchiya, Deer, 2023, 59.5 x 50 x 22 cm, Painted camphor wood, crystal

Takanobu Kobayashi, born in Tokyo, graduated from Oil Painting, Faculty of Art Department of Fine Arts, Aichi University of the Arts in 1986. At the time, Kobayashi felt that society did not understand his painting, and he regarded himself as a submarine. He also saw the sunlight filtering through the trees as a symbol of hope. As he became fascinated by the light illuminating everyday scenery and objects, and it came to central to his painting, the submarine eventually disappeared. Kobayashi perceives the world in terms of brightness, and expresses light and shadow by applying layers of thin paint. There is a universal theme in it: the ambiguity and transience of existence for all living things. The pillow, one of his well-known motifs, is with ambivalence, giving the viewers a sense of peace and rest, whilst making them aware that they are steadily heading towards death. The octopus in the pot, which is entrusting its thoughts to the outside world, overlaps with the artist in the past, showing that the basis of his work has remained unchanged. Kobayashi can be described as an exceptional artist who purifies the familiar world from a new perspective and inhabits his work with a light that shocks the heart.

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Takanobu Kobayashi, Pillow, 2006-2007, 50 x 60 cm, Oil on canvas

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