Maiko Kasai, Little Owl’s Eyes

2017.10.21 - 2017.11.25
Meaning of Lilies, 2017

 Yuka Tsuruno Gallery is pleased to present Little Owl’s Eyes, a solo exhibition by Maiko Kasai, from Saturday, October 21 to Saturday, November 25. In her first solo exhibition at the gallery in two years, Kasai will present new works that explore the narrative quality of painting by using the traditional motifs of western painting.

 In recent years, she has been producing paintings that explore the relationship between narrative and painting by composing stories based on scenes she witnessed in her everyday life or introducing a new, uniquely imagined perspective that complements untold parts of existing stories. Her paintings, characterized by bold brushstrokes and usage of empty spaces, are populated by socially undifferentiated beings such as young girls, animals or cartoon character costumes. The vague compositions and colors that cause the subject to merge with the background express her pictorial world at once as figurative and abstract.

 The title of this exhibition Little Owl’s Eyes refers to the owl of the Greek goddess Athena. The goddess of wisdom, handicrafts and warfare, Athena is said to have kept an owl, the symbol of wisdom, by her side as her holy animal. Kasai says that she adopted this title as “an attempt to examine the world from a perspective that is different from the everyday one, like that of the owl that regarded the wide world from above by the goddess who was worshiped as the guardian of Athens and looked over every occurrence in the world”.

 While she reexamines the traditional motifs of western painting as a painter, the owl’s perspective has become an important one for her. Kasai has introduced the comprehensive perspective of Yamato-e style and the traditional nature motif of Japanese painting to the compositions of her works in order to achieve temporal narrativity of the depicted scenes instead of the traditional timelessness of painting.

 Furthermore, the newly introduced motif of plaster busts is a recognizable one for anyone who studied art in Japan. The plaster busts that are normally regarded merely as drawing subjects in modern art education are familiar to Kasai even though they are remote from her cultural and spatiotemporal origin, much like the images of young girls who are overlapping the motifs of western painting in her paintings. Kasai’s attempt to approach traditional motifs from a new angle both in terms of medium and subject matter manifests itself as pictures with new narrativity that link time and space, and offer multiple interpretation to their viewers.

Artist Profile

Born in 1983, Aichi and received an MA in oil painting from Kanazawa College of Art Graduate School. She received Second Prize in the Shell Art Award in 2008. Selected exhibitions include 30th Outstanding Rising Artists Exhibition (Sompo Japan Museum of Art, Tokyo, 2011), Shell Art Award Artist Selection (The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2012), and VOCA (The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, 2016). Public and private collections include Pigozzi Collection, Takahashi Collection, and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K..

Exhibition Outline

Maiko Kasai, Little Owl’s Eyes
Date: October 21 – November 25, 2017 * extended until December 9
Opening hours: Tue – Thu, Sat, 11am – 6pm; Fri 11am – 8pm
* Closed on Sunday, Monday, and National holiays
Venue: Yuka Tsuruno Gallery
1-33-10-3F Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Japan

Works in Exhibition

Installation View