7 May ‑ 19 Jun 2022 (except Mon) 11am ‑ 7pm (8 hours)
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SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present “HANGA'' Tomoo Gokita + Sanya Kantarovsky, from May 7 to Jun 19, 2022. The title “HANGA” means the art of printmaking in Japanese.

Both artists have been indulging in the painterly exploration of oneiric human figures, wilfully engaging or altering artistic or historical references in their own signature styles. Through various printmaking craftsmanship on different paper supports, all produced in limited editions, Gokita’s paintings in soft tones are transmitted in precise details, while Kantarovsky’s painted compositions replete with satire and sensations converse with the tradition of Edo-period woodblock prints. We invite you to take this chance to view the masterful printmaking techniques and their dialogues with the prominent body of works of the artists.
As varied as his artistic resources spanning from music, magazines to personal encounters, Tomoo Gokita’s oeuvre comprises not only paintings but also prints, record covers and apparels among others. Whether in monochrome or pastels, Gokita’s works are characterised by his gradient hues and velvety brushstrokes, depicting psychological characters that exist between abstraction and figuration.

In an effort to faithfully transmit Gokita’s canvases into prints, two distinct techniques were employed: in “MAE E NARAE” and “Oscalypso”, the original paintings were rendered through silkscreens, a method in which ink or paint is pushed through a fine mesh screen; whereas in “Housewife”, the prints were created as stencilled pulp paintings, where ink is applied over pulp paper with cut-out shapes. Each sheet of screen or pulp paper finely contours imagery based on the colours dissected from the originals, while preserving the movements of Gokita’s brushworks. The contrast between the stillness of the prints, which were hand-executed by printmakers layer after layer, and the seemingly moving paints on the surface, creates a unique viewing experience and a collectable work in refreshing textures.

On the other hand, Sanya Kantarovsky developed a series of ink and watercolour studies during a residency at the Troedsson Villa in Nikko in 2018. Closely considering the Edo-period Ukiyo-e prints that draw on Kabuki and Noh theatre, and works by masters such as Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Kantarovsky created a set of dark and satirical pictorial drama titled “Paradise”, akin to his works that often allude to humanist paintings and caricature. The compositions were then translated into an edition of Ukiyo-e prints by the Adachi Hanga printmakers, who strive to keep alive the Japanese woodcut printing technique, in which a woodblock is carved, inked, and pressed against a piece of washi-paper to create images. Provoked by the confrontations between the characters, the grisly and haptic themes are transmuted through the subtlest lines and colours, scrubbed and veiled with a persistent restlessness.

This exhibition marks the first presentation of Kantarovsky at the Hong Kong space. The Russia-born, New York-based artist’s practice revolves around painting, taking aim at imagined human subjects, which are often entangled in a variety of discomforts, both psychological and physical. This indulgence is marked with a wry self-reflexivity, acknowledge the futility of faithfully transmuting lived experience.

This exhibition is in held in collaboration with T&Y Projects, BLUM & POE, Pace Prints, and the Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints.