For Art Basel Hong Kong, Anat Ebgi is pleased to present The Arrival of Spring, a solo installation of new works by Greg Ito. The presentation title acknowledges the birth of Ito's daughter Spring, who was born earlier this year. A five-panel polyptych titled Paradise (2021) anchors the booth and lays bare Ito's language of transition and becoming. A dramatic landscape framed by a continuous row of window panes reveals a city with a fire on the horizon as it is slowly engulfed in flames and finally emerges as a space of bountiful blooms and birds taking to the sky.
Using symbols and a visual language that draws upon of his hometown Los Angeles—and the five generations his family has lived there, Ito's cinematic painting style seeks to explore the precariousness of life and desire for security. The artist is fundamentally a storyteller; he effectuates rumination on the collective through the deeply personal — a desire for an evolution, a cultural reset. Informed by his grandparents' experience as interned Japanese-Americans during World War II, the sense of 'home' as a refuge from the outside world is a fleeting and fragile one.
Ito's new works are a direct reflection of the past year, where the floods and fires became real experiences. Looking specifically at the cultural shifts following the COVID-19 lockdown and the Black Lives Matters protests and riots, Ito felt as though a veil had been lifted to reveal the injustice and corruption of America that is omnipresent and thoroughly ingrained within the fabric of the culture itself. The fires and destruction from these protests became a global symbol of rebirth — the need to burn down the forest to return the nutrients to its soil. As a forest grows only stronger from its inevitable burning, from the flames comes a new vision of the future.
Greg Ito (b. 1987, Los Angeles, CA) embraces a graphic visual style to create cinematic paintings and installations that address themes of time, love, loss, hope, and tragedy. Ito earned his BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. His work has been exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions including Maki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA; Division Gallery, Montreal, QC; Arsenal Contemporary, Toronto, ON; Jeffrey Deitch New York, NY; Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL; Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA; Et al, San Francisco, CA; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – YBCA, San Francisco, CA. A forthcoming solo exhibition at Anat Ebgi Los Angeles will open Fall 2021. Ito lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.