Tomoko Konoike: Earthshine
Gallery Wendy Norris, San Francisco, CA
5 September – 26 October 2013
Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to announce Earthshine, renowned Japanese artist Tomoko Konoike’s American solo debut. Konoike’s works transport viewers to another world through a multidisciplinary practice encompassing drawing, sculpture, photography, animation, and painted fusuma screens. Inspired by a wide array of sources, including manga, Noh drama, Shinto animism, and pop culture, Konoike’s imagery creates a dreamy sense of place and metaphysically charged narrative.
Wolves, now extinct in Konoike’s native Japan, are recurring, spiritual figures in her work. Donning Animal Skins and Braided Grass has a dazzling finish that reflects an ephemeral light show in the gallery space, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Life-sized, it is intended to suggest that a full grown adult could climb on its back and be transported to another realm.
Fusuma screens are traditionally believed to protect people against threats from the hereafter. Konoike’s massive painted screen addresses the notion of a metaphysical, enchanted “border” through images of wolves, lightning, and a larger than life human skull. This work suggests the possibility of communicating with the gods of nature at the boundary between this world and the next.
As shape-shifting stand-ins for viewers, the artist, and nature, Konoike’s characters and situations are frequently charming and dramatic. Delivered with uncanny innocence and technical elegance, they invite viewers to interpret her dreamy “auto-cosmic” symbols and storylines according to one’s own time and place in the world.
About the Artist
Born in Akita, Japan, Tonoko Konoike lives and works in Tokyo. She graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at The Singapore Art Museum, Akita Museum of Art, Akita, Busan Museum, Busan, Korea, Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, and in shows in Taiwan, Spain, Germany, Israel, Australia, Greece, France, London, Italy, Thailand, the Netherlands, and the US. Her work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Kiryu City Performing Arts Center, Gunma, Japan, the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan, MUZA Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan, Ohara Museum, Okayama, Japan, and the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. Public and corporate art projects include Lodge the Art Museum on Mt. Moriyoshi, Toshio Shimizu Art office, and Sunport Konan in Tokyo, to name a few.
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