Altman Siegel proudly presents the second solo show at the gallery of Tokyo based painter Shinpei Kusanagi. The exhibition will feature the artist’s abstract paintings paired with his illustration work, which is being shown for the first time outside of Japan.
Shinpei Kusanagi’s landscapes are both dynamic and understated. Leaving much of the canvas raw, his minimal strokes of acrylic create figures, space and movement. Using simple geometric shapes Kusanagi subtly implies the windows and architectural planes that create the familiar geography of urban landscapes. Efficient marks imply the curve of a sidewalk, while a single brush of green evokes a tree. The broadly applied atmospheric washes of color leave the landscapes devoid of specific detail, as they seem to evoke the memory of a place rather than the place itself.
In contrast to the more abstracted landscapes, the exhibition will also present representational paintings that show the depth and range of Kusanagi’s skill as a painter. Though stylistically quite different, these illustrations are a key element in Kusanagi’s practice, and he considers them conceptually similar to the more abstract works.
For five years, Kusanagi published drawings to accompany each installment of Teru Miyamoto’s novel Mizu no katachi [the shape of water], which was serialized in the monthly magazine éclat (published by Shueisha). These original works as well as Kusanagi’s own writings were subsequently included in Kusanagi’s first book Kiyosumi kaiwai [Kiyosumi and its Environs] published in 2013. For this exhibition, Kusanagi used the representational paintings as a point of departure, drawing on the motifs from these works to ground the abstractions.
Kusanagi lives and works in Tokyo. His recent exhibitions include, “where the water comes together with other water,” Taka Ishii, Kyoto, 2013; “Fuyu no Tabi,” Shane Campbell, Chicago, 2012; “project N 45 Kusanagi Shinpei,” Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2011; “VOCA”, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, 2011.