Toru Kamiya
"breath / behind shut eyes / tracing"

Tue. 9 May - Sat. 8 July, 2023
※ no reservation required
Opening Hours: 12:00 - 18:00
*Closed on Sun. Mon. Holidays

Toru Kamiya's paintings, characterized by delicate color gradations created with acrylic paint, have no motifs, and their surfaces are so smooth that even the brushstrokes are barely visible. With the matte surfaces absorbing light, the color fields seem to exert a certain effect on both the surrounding space and the viewer's consciousness. The exhibition features some 15 new works by the artist, including the large-scale composite painting that measures up to 6 meters in height and takes full advantage of the architectural characteristics of the gallery. The works will be exhibited both individually and in combination, revealing a crystallization of his exploration of color composition thus far and a change of perspective that the pandemic has brought to the artist.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a monumental painting joy (2023), which consists of 60 small modules, each measuring 30 cm square. Although each panel is independent, they form a unified formation, making maximum use of the high ceiling of the gallery. With each panel’s position being indefinite, the work embraces a fluidity that resists the inherently robust nature of painting as a medium, revealing Kamiya’s new direction based on his previous painterly practice. As suggested by the exhibition title, the midpoints where two complementary or somewhat discordant colors mingle on the panels seem to evoke a sense of corporeality and otherness hidden within the refined picture planes.
The three words in the title “breath / behind shut eyes / tracing” were chosen by Kamiya himself. The painter’s creation process, having neither beginning nor end, is analogized to breathing which never stops. The color gradations in the middle of the canvases are compared to the colors or phosphenes that appear when pressing on the closed eyes as well as the nerves and blood running through the eyelids. Furthermore, the word "tracing" suggests that Kamiya's painting is executed by following formality, namely composing color fields with no specific motif, through his repeated brushwork to paint the flat surfaces.
All of his panels are custom-made as the artist meticulously calculated the installation of the works from the very beginning. The sides of each panel are slanted at a 60-degree angle to elegantly project shadows while their surfaces are applied with gray paint to prevent diffuse reflection when hung on the wall. Additionally in this exhibition, the artist will paint the walls of the gallery in gray to replicate the walls of his studio, reflecting his awareness of how painting is perceived apart from how it is conceived.

Kamiya says he wants to see his works free from the artist’s ego, and to accept the result. In recent years, he has been introduced to new supporting materials for painting such as marble, aside from the standard cotton canvas. His experimentation in trying to negotiate with such materials seems to have led to the deeper development of his artistic practice. Through his never-ending process of production, Kamiya continues to probe the medium of painting as a device to create a space that engages the viewer’s consciousness.