MAKI Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the Los Angeles-based artist, Kaz Oshiro. The exhibition will be held in conjunction with the grand opening of MAKI on the first floor of the TERRADA Art Complex.
Oshiro moved to Los Angeles in 1986, where he received his education in fine art and remains active as an artist. (Oshiro, Letter from Tinseltown) He has lived within the context of West Coast art and experienced the changes it has undergone continuing to explore the possibilities of art against this backdrop. Drawing from art history – throughout which painting has faced many crises – he brings all of his expressive resources to bear, interrogating anew the meaning of painting.
The exhibition title, Republic, refers to a classical text by the Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. In this work, Plato expounds his theory of the state, as well as his theories concerning the true essence of things, particularly of the good and the beautiful. He explains that humans only look at the surface, that we are like prisoners trapped in a cave who have only ever seen the shadows cast on the walls and mistaken them for reality. Oshiro asks whether this might also apply to the art that has been praised and admired for so long. Have we been admiring the 'format' or 'appearance' of art, instead of art itself? Oshiro's artworks which to all appearances look like amps, cabinets and suitcases are the 'shadows on the walls of the cave'. The surprise that greets us when we see the back of these pieces, where the canvas and wood frame remain exposed, leads us out of the cave. It is there that the intellectual search for the true essence of things, which cannot be seen by the human eye, begins.
Furthermore, Oshiro questions the reception of art by society, alluding to Plato's Republic. The artist writes, 'Now that the second wave of political correctness, this time global in its scope, has washed over society at large, it has callously swallowed up even those artists who had been determined to cast a critical eye on and turn away from the entire situation. The scenario that Plato had feared, in which art would be used as a weapon in the name of social justice, is taking place. All while we remain unaware. It has probable spread to many cities around the world already. History spirals as if continuing the old rhymes, repeating itself again and again.' (Oshiro, Letter from Tinseltown)
Republic will be the inaugural exhibition at MAKI Gallery / Tennoz, Tokyo. MAKI will open as space for reflecting on the place of art and our perspectives on it, from the ground up. As an artist who interrogates the nature of art, and particularly of painting, we can say that Kaz Oshiro is the ideal artist for the inaugural show. Included in the exhibition will be works that the artist has kept close by in his studio, as well as works from various series that he has created over the years. Oshiro's works give us an opportunity to investigate the true nature of art and question how it is perceived by society. We invite you to see the artist's representative works, his speakers, cabinets, Still Life series and Steel Beam series, which will be on view in a dynamic presentation at our gallery in Tennoz.
Press release courtesy of MAKI.