キモカワ Kimo-Kawa (Ugly-Cute) Curated by the SKRL Project
March 2-16, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday March 11, 6-8pm
skrl art prjct is pleased to present “キモカワ Kimo-Kawa” featuring work by Akira Ikezoe, Reina Kubota, and Kanako Nose at Ground Floor Gallery, 343 5th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11215, from March 2rd to 17th, 2016. The reception is on Friday, March 11th, 6 to 8pm.
The title “キモカワ Kimo-Kawa” is Japanese slang combining two opposites: Kimochiwasui (or Kimoi in slang) and Kawaii. Kimoi means ugly, disgusting, gross, or weird. Many young people use this word for any expression of unpleasantness, and Kawaii means cute, pretty, lovely, or charming. These two words are usually incompatible but the word Kimo-Kawa designates a liminal zone: an object, person or character in-between cute and repulsive, somewhere on the borderline. ‘Ugly-cute’ might be nearly disgusting but also fun and somehow endearing.
The graphite drawings of Akira Ikezoe at first glance appear cute and attractive, but the strangeness of the otherwise familiar human and dog-like figures troubles any lingering sweetness. He morphs humans and animals with their familiar environments, creating spaces of pleasure and intrigue for viewers to explore. His work presents the human figure as his alter ego and weaves a metaphysical and mythological context where human and natural boundaries meld.
Ikezoe was born and raised in Kochi, Japan, currently lives in New York, and explores painting, drawing, video, and animation in his practice. His solo exhibitions include el fin del este coincide con el fin del sur, Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City (2015); Drawing, Ise Cultural Foundation, NYC (2012); Repeater, Sanagi Fine Arts, Tokyo (2010) and Ephemeral Garden, Esso Gallery, NYC (2009). His group exhibitions include The School of Nature and Principle, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts’ Project Space, NYC (2015); 100 painters of tomorrow, Christie’s Ryder Street Gallery, London (2014); Proyectos Ultavioleta presents…, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Costa Rica (2013); Play with Nature-Played by Nature, Satoshi Koyama Gallery, Tokyo (2013); Kiss the Heart, Isetan Shinjuku, Tokyo (2012) and Future Primitive, Ma2 Gallery, Tokyo (2010). After majoring in printmaking and graduating from Tama Art University in 2003, he received the Tomio Koyama Gallery Prize and Naruyama Gallery Prize at GEISAI #10 in 2006 and the 1800 Tequila Award at ZONA MACO in 2015. He was also selected as one of the 100 Painters of Tomorrow by Beers Contemporary and Thames & Hudson in 2014.
Reina Kubota’s installation and sculptures make a similar first impression of loveliness, but danger also inheres–we find headless animals eating a brain, or beautiful gemstones set in melted or spiky rings. She is deeply interested in giving form to abstract ideas like trust, love, death and identity. Her current areas of investigation are gender, cultural gaps, and environmental transformation. She studied classical sculpture at Aichi University of the Arts, Japan where she earned a BFA & MFA. Upon graduation, she moved to New York and continues to live and breathe art.
Kubota exhibited the interactive installation work at Dumbo Arts Center 2010, had a solo show at ISE Cultural Foundation 2010, installed public art at Riverside Park South in Manhattan 2013-2014 and has participated in numerous group shows both in NYC and Japan.
Kanako Nose’s drawings and illustrations are weird yet entrancing. They respond to the burden of communication both between her and others, as well as within parts of herself. She characterizes them as gestures to both escape dead-end conversation and confront negative emotions within oneself that are normally avoided. They appeal.
The figures in her pieces all attempt to communicate with non-verbal conversation, offering a deeper connection beyond commiseration. They unconditionally understand and accept the physical manifestations of the viewer’s turmoil, both hidden and apparent.
Born and raised in New York, Kanako graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA degree in Illustration. She currently creates personal artwork as well as music-related artwork. Her exhibitions include Illustration Exhibition at Hard Boiled, and Launch Party with skrl art prjct. She has worked as an animation assistant at MTV World/BET and created a label logo for Lit Level Records.