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Ryuzo Satake 

"Small Existence"

18th June  2016 - 9th July 2016


Hours: 12:00-19:00, closed Sunday, Monday

Artist Talk July 9th 16:00 - 17:00 at YOD Gallery

Closing Reception July 9th 18:00 - at YOD Gallery

YOD Gallery is pleased to present "Small Existence," the second solo exhibition by Ryuzo Satake(b.1987) since 2013. 

As a student of Japanese Painting, Satake has focused on the translucent quality of the traditional medium, mineral pigments. Taking advantage of this medium, he has established a unique pointillistic method while studying at Kyoto University of Art & Design. Satake has earned a high reputation for his portraits painted in this method, where figures are formed by thinned rectangular color blocks, thinned and layered multiple times. Since he first participated a group exhibition in 2008,Satake has been actively showing works at various group and solo exhibitions, and his portraits have won Kyoto Arts & Crafts Exhibition of Selected Young Artists, Mainichi Newspapers Award(2014), GEISAI#16 Takanori Katagiri Award(2012),ART AWARD NEXT #1 Second Prize(2010). 

Overarching theme or story depicted in Satake’s painting is hard to read. There is scarce information of the subject’s emotion, or the situation he or she is placed. Therefore the viewer is forced to determine the appropriate distance to see the image and its meaning. The image is composed of multi-layered color blocks over a ground. Grains of the water-thinned mineral paint spreads out to show the colors underneath. This translucency speaks of the quality of light, and applied as dotted pattern, even reminds one of pixels. The figures and sceneries emerge out of the sea of lines and color blocks for a moment, but soon diffuse. These subjects are described as “sparse” for the slight sense of space and corporeity they carry. They could be perceived as “anime”, one of the contemporary aesthetic standards of Japanese. They emerge as a result of “unraveling multiple styles of art to the same level, and reconstructing by penetrating all these elements; Japanese and Western paintings, contemporary arts, films and videos, character images in subcultures.*” With this distinct style permitted by his high skills, Satake blurs the relationship and distance between the artwork, the audience, and the artist. This uncertainty brings non-identifiable emotions within and without audience. 

In Satake’s 2013 exhibition, it was refreshing to see the shift of subject from young adults to children. The figures however remained isolated. They are unlinked to any specific image or character; their emotion and corporeality, or intervention of the artist as a producer is subtle. For this upcoming exhibition, Satake seems to have made a huge shift. While keeping the painting style, he introduces and idea of “otherworldly beings” as an overarching theme. The subjects are no longer isolated or disconnected. They are characters of imagination repeatedly appear in Japanease classic stories, mythology and fine arts that many audience already have specific ideas of their own. For instance, "Wind God and Thunder God" and “Dragon,” are subjects dealt in traditional Japanese Paintings, and “Shibaten,” is a yokai monster from Kochi. These beings are also related to the artist’s root: growing up in Kochi, having interests in folklore, and studying traditional Japanese painting. Naturally the artist’s presence become larger in the works. Still, Satake’s pointillism making the subject sparse and iconic may mirror the audience. Satake states, that the nymphs, spirits and yokai “appear monstrous in mythology. But after all, they only exist in human imagination and in size to stay in our brain.” Satake attempts to depict the nature of such existence through deconstruction, re-construction, and through blurring the distance between him, artwork and the audience. 

    (*Noi Sawaragi「In the white room with reverberation---Portraits of Ryuzo Satake」) 

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