Berlin, Germany based Chiharu Shiota is a Japanese performance and installation artist best known for creating room-filling, monumental yet delicate, poetic environments. She weaves human-size webs from thread, turning entire galleries into labyrinthine environments and often enclosing personal objects or even herself.
Central to the artist’s work are the themes of remembrance and oblivion, dreaming and sleeping, traces of the past and childhood, and dealing with anxieties. Shiota finds diverse visual expressions for these subject matters, the most celebrated being impenetrable installations made of thread which often enclose various household and everyday, personal objects: a burnt-out piano, a wedding dress or a lady’s mackintosh.
Keiichi Tanaami is a seminal figure in Japanese Pop art. “Most of my expressions are based on my actual experiences,” he has said. “The countless amount of stimulative experiences, happenings and encounters…they become the keywords of my expressions.”
Best known for his cartoonish and colorful paintings that blend dream figures and references to childhood experiences with pop culture iconography, Tanaami has also worked in video, animation, as well as graphic design and commercial illustration, drawing profound influence from the work of Andy Warhol.
Japanese artist Hirotoshi Ito breathes life into stone by transforming it into practically anything but stone itself. His whimsical and unique stone sculptures create surreal optical illusions that can make us forget that they are actually made of solid stone. He is able to create all kinds of objects, ranging from a purse to food, from a t-shirt to a deck of cards. A total and unsettling illusion. The stones come alive in a surprising yet humorist manner. He found his signature in the zipper, as it gives depth and resonance to his treasures.
Masayoshi Matsumoto is a Japanese balloon artist that has given balloons a new meaning. Using nothing but ordinary balloons, Matsumoto twists, ties, weaves, and squishes his animals into being with remarkable detail.
Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki carves life-size sculptures from wood, but with a twist of mortality and transience. The disturbing pieces hinge often hinge on grotesque as the combination of the bulging weight and density of wood heightens the certainty of death that looms over all his creations. Each piece, with sizes ranging from life-size to miniature, is first sketched directly onto a large section of camphor wood and then chiseled to match the absurd female form.
Tom Eglington is a self-taught artist and writer. He has developed an illustration style that combines elements of vintage Japanese prints, 70s sci-fi, outsider art, comics and collage. From William Burroughs to Jack Kirby via Henry Darger, his work channels a bizarre fantasy world of occult symbols, lowbrow pop art and hallucinatory visuals.
Japanese artist, Fumihiro Kato, creates his art with a style that has a very complex and meticulous technique, filled with intricate lines that are almost creating designs within designs.
He has been active since the early 2000’s, displaying his numerous works ranging from abstract to landscapes with his own special touch, which is described as on his website as his “own original painting technique, which has never been used by anyone before.”
Masao Kinoshita draws much of his inspiration from diverse mythologies, religions and folklores from around the globe. Fusing narratives across space and time, the horned maenads of ancient Greece live alongside the Yoga Asura deities of Buddhism in a visceral, animalistic universe where fitness reigns supreme.
Kinoshita’s sculptures stand skinned and erect. Working with materials ranging from wood to resin to bronze, the Japanese sculptor uses an aesthetic we normally associate with natural history museums to render athletic, flexing creatures of the sea and land.
Los Angeles based Masami Teraoka‘s early work consisted primarily of watercolor paintings and prints that mimicked the flat, bold qualities of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. These paintings, done after his arrival in the United States, often featured the collision of the two cultures. Series such as McDonald’s Hamburgers Invading Japan and 31 Flavors Invading Japan characterize themes in the work in this time period. These pieces blended reality with fantasy, humor with commentary, history with the present.
He has abandoned this style in favor of Western European religious iconography, in tune with his cultural and political critique of contemporary culture, particularly its confessional quality in America society. Teraoka’s work has been reviewed, collected and exhibited throughout the United States and abroad.
New York based Ayumi Shibata imagines delicate paper cities, entirely cut out by hand and installed into glass containers. She uses traditional methods of Japanese paper cutting to create miniature cities within vessels of glass. Her chosen materials reference the delicate relationship humans have with our environment and natural forces of our world.