Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based painter Kaz Oshiro. This is the artist's first exhibition with the gallery.
At first glance, Kaz Oshiro's new works seem to represent a radical formal shift. They are minimalist canvases that straddle the edges of the white cube, folding around corners, collapsing onto the floor, and uncannily broaching the space of the viewer. His previous works, remarkably realistic three-dimensional facsimiles of everyday objects like old microwave ovens, dumpsters, kitchen cabinets, and car bumpers, meticulously fabricated from paint and Bondo on canvas, are, however, a conceptual antecedent for the new paintings. In all these works, Oshiro extends the idea of painting as a spatial and conceptual practice, distilling it to its most essential status as object and calling attention to its physical, phenomenological effects.
The new series bears the title Still Life; indeed, Oshiro simply describes each work as a "still life of a broken painting." The object depicted, a vanitas for aesthetic perfection, is an abstract painting that has been compromised – warped out of the comfortable space of the two dimensional picture plane. Each work also calls attention to the liminal spaces that disappear in a traditional gallery installation – its corners and edges. Like his prior work, which insisted upon its existence as painting but inhabited the space of sculpture, these works push painting into the bodily realm. Reorienting the viewing experience in a very deliberate way, Oshiro ultimately seeks to recalibrate the viewer's sense of space.
In Oshiro's words, "Abstract painting is all art. It's pure in a way, simply canvas, paint and a brush."* Here, painting is pared down to its most fundamental elements, referencing not a stack of amplifiers or a mini-refrigerator, but art itself. Taking inspiration from artists like Ellsworth Kelly, Imi Knoebel, Blinky Palermo, Fred Sandback and Michael Asher, Oshiro manipulates the idea of minimal abstraction, processing it through a rigorous, conceptually driven practice that makes the idea and experience of space a primary concern. The canvases, which also allude to the work of California Light and Space artists, are nearly monochromatic, adding only a subtle second tone that playfully alludes to shadowing in proximity to the real shadows created by the bends and folds of the frame; this hint at the illusory possibility of paint on canvas inverts the sort of spills and stains that disrupt the pristine surfaces of some of his earlier tromp l'oeil objects.
Through the Still Lives, Oshiro not only clarifies the concerns of his previous bodies of work but also continues to extend the definition of painting in the contemporary context.
Kaz Oshiro (b. 1967, Okinawa, Japan) has lived and worked in Los Angeles for the past 25 years. He earned a BA and MFA from California State University, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Villa du Parc in Annemasse, France; galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris; Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York; the Las Vegas Art Museum; and the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont. Group exhibitions include Simulacrum at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH; Lifelike which opened at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and is currently on exhibit at MOCA San Diego; One Way or Another at the Asia Society and Museum, New York; Berkeley Art Museum; and Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; Thing at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach.
*Interview with Glen Helfand, Common Noise (Paris: Galerie Frank Elbaz, 2007), p. 26.