Hiroka Yamashita “玄 GEN”

Dates: Dec 2 – 28, 2023
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery (complex665)
Opening reception: Saturday, Dec 2, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present Hiroka Yamashita’s solo exhibition, “玄 GEN”, from Saturday, December 2 to Thursday, December 28, 2023. Following her participation in a group exhibition at Taka Ishii Gallery in 2020, this is her first solo show at the gallery, featuring 14 new paintings.

I feel the works have become more visually attuned to the coldness of stone, the softness of soil, the ever-changing appearance of the moon and clouds in the night sky, all sorts of textures and sounds, nostalgic sensory memories and aerial vibrations. The scenes that appear before my eyes contain imperceptible entities, recollections and thoughts belonging to others, and memory inherent in the land itself, all floating around, and when I paint it feels as if these elements naturally reveal themselves in various forms. Just as everyday life is full of many new discoveries, I welcome these revelations as I depict this world which can never be fully understood in a single person’s lifetime. If something unknown manifests itself in a painting, I let it stay there. Maybe I will understand it someday, and maybe I won’t, and that’s fine too.

Hiroka Yamashita
November 2023

This exhibition, titled “玄 GEN”, presents paintings inspired by the artist’s experiences at sites she visited in person such as the ancient Tsukinowa Kofun tomb, Mt. Daisen, and the lava tunnels of Shimane Prefecture, as well as memorable stories heard from locals. These works draw on raw sensations encountered in nature, tales passed down from one generation to the next, and explorations of local archives and histories. They thematically incorporate spirituality and connections between nature and humanity intrinsic to ancient Japan into uniquely constructed compositions. The colors range from pale pastels to deep, somber shades, with thin, delicate layers and brushwork that imbues intangible atmospheres and presences with a sense of reality. The works on view are further enhanced by a dark, meditative palette, which powerfully and mysteriously elevates them to a state in which they emerge from deep darkness as beacons that summon forth light.

Hiroka Yamashita was born in 1991 in Hyogo, Japan. She earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (New York) in 2017 and an MFA in Arts & Design from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey) in 2019. Since returning to Japan she has been based in Okayama, and has held solo shows in the US, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere. In 2022, she took part in the Fürstenberg Zeitgenoessisch residency program in Germany. Recent solo exhibitions include “Project N 84” at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (Tokyo, 2021), and group exhibitions include “Yes You Can: The Strength of Life through Art” at What Museum (Tokyo, 2022).

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