Kiang Malingue is pleased to present at its Tin Wan studio space Hiroka Yamashita’s first exhibition with the gallery Field, Force, Surface, showcasing ten recent paintings by the artist.
Hiroka Yamashita (born 1991 in Hyogo, Japan) lives and works in Okayama after graduating from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in 2019. Reflecting upon the Satoyama lifestyle she confidently leads – turning away from the metropolis to live with nature – and the invisible, spiritual dimension of the environment, Yamashita employs as her guiding principles key ideas from the realm of physics and creates paintings that either vibrate as recollections or undulate as consolidated visions.
Recent works included in the exhibition are Field (Blue and Green) and Field (Surface II), two starkly abstract landscapes, in which human figures are absent. Putting pictorial depth into play while emphasising the spatial and the atmospheric, the two artworks reconsider the legacy of Hasegawa Tōhaku’s (1539–1610), a painter of the Azuchi–Momoyama period, and Yamashita’s training in traditional Japanese art, speaking of a verisimilitude that almost seems incredible as the artist highlights illuminated undercurrents and a hazy pink scene, invaded gently by sap green zigzags.
The diptych Field (Persimmon Tree Sprout) makes use of a scroll-like composition, envisaging an encounter between an individual and a foreign community. The motif of the persimmon tree – also found frequently in haiku, a form of literature favoured for long by the artist – derives directly from the plant Yamashita tends in her garden. “The beauty of the shining sprout, the quiet mountain pass, and the swaying grass, etc. … It makes me paint those works, as if it is speaking to me that they know the world much better than we humans do, and we all may come from the same place.” The diptych, along with the ascending, multi-layered Field (Tōge) and the threefold Shakespearean Field (with Grass), proposes novel ways through which one may exert force, relating to one another and nature. For Yamashita, the second decade of the 21st century commences in an abyssal helplessness; the decisively somatic human figures in her recent paintings – inexpressive, caught in distanced confrontations, solemn praying rituals and that are frequently subject to aquatic forces – reflect truthfully her thoughts and experiences in recent times. The artist means to, however, leave open the interpretation process, encouraging the viewer to make their own identifications and associations and to think beyond individual, secularised destinies.
(About Hiroka Yamashita)
Hiroka Yamashita (born in 1991 in Hyogo, Japan) lives and works in Okayama. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2017 and her MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New York in 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Fūdo’, Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2022); ‘project N 84’, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2021); ‘Cosmos Remembered’, The Club, Tokyo (2021); and ‘Evanescent Horizon’ (with Naoya Inose), FOMO Art, Taipei (2021). Her work has been included in recent group exhibitions: ‘Their private worlds contained the memory of a painting that had shapes as reassuring as the uncanny footage of a sonogram’, curated by Sedrick Chisom, Matthew Brown Gallery, Los Angeles (2022); ‘Dancing in Dark Times’, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2021); and ‘Daichi Takagi, Lucía Vidales, Hiroka Yamashita’, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (2020), among others.
Hiroka Yamashita: Field, Force, Surface
Photo by Wong Pak Hang