Sadly, this review was not posted at the time of the show. But I want to post it now as a tribute to the kind of avant garde + traditionalist Japanese artist that Onishi Gallery has made its province.
Onishi Gallery has again gone on a talent hunt. But this time not to a near-forgot island of Japan but to the streets of Tokyo and the worlds of anime. And she’s come up with a young confident, competent young old soul – a Japanese Keith Haring.
Why does Keith the Kid come to mind when seeing this artist? They both treat technique and media as skateboards, both treat content as the goal, and both know how to wield art as a knife to reveal the truths of life. There are no near misses in their craft, no mistakes, no wasted energy. There is focus – and it’s on simple important messages.
To say Keith comes to mind is not to say they’re the same, cut from the same cloth. Both use the tools of their time: Keith the unmistakeable line, the swaths of color.
Both impale commercialism on its own petard, but not like Warhol who was from an entirely different generation – who only had to copy the idiocies of labels to make them art. Onishi’s artist takes a big name t shirt and turns it inside out, visible only from the painting’s backside – and memorializes the label and tracking number – in bold color.