Shinpei Kusanagi “Where Whales Approach the Shore and Tigers Lurk in the Fields”

Dates: Jun 29 – Aug 11, 2024
[Temporary Closure: Jul 6 – Jul 7, 2024]
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Maebashi
Opening reception: Saturday, Jun 29, 17:00 – 19:00

Taka Ishii Gallery Maebashi is pleased to present “Where Whales Approach the Shore and Tigers Lurk in the Fields,” a solo exhibition of the work of Shinpei Kusanagi, from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, August 11. His first show at the gallery in three years, and his sixth to be held here, it features his latest paintings and works on paper.

I shall tread this path where whales approach the shore and tigers lurk in the fields. And though I may vanish like morning dew on a thicket, it is here that I must go.

―Keicho kenmonshu (II), 1614

This excerpt from the Keicho kenmonshu conveys the artist’s spirit of venturing into unexplored realms, and his strong will to embrace the future. At the same time, it evokes distant times and places, reflecting the artist’s depictions of vast natural landscapes that are both wildly rugged and tranquil.

The series of works on paper, exhibited for the first time, is part of a body of work that Kusanagi continually created, in the manner of a diary, at a time when studio access was limited. His staining practice causes images to emerge subtly and elegantly on the paper, creating a delicate yet rustic atmosphere. The paintings, executed on raw canvas using a staining technique, build up numerous layers of rich, translucent color to convey deep spatiality. His recent works have developed his basic staining approach in the direction of abstraction, marked by dynamic, improvisational brushstrokes and a vibrant palette. This blend of refined color harmonies and dynamic compositions produce mysterious modalities, expanding the scope of Kusanagi’s new abstract exploration.

Shinpei Kusanagi was born in 1973 in Tokyo, where he lives and is works. His solo exhibitions include, “All things must pass,” Altman Siegel Gallery S/F, San Francisco (2022); “Something is happening which is not happening at all,” Altman Siegel Gallery S/F, online, San Francisco (2020) and “project N 45 KUSANAGI Shinpei,” Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo (2011). Kusanagi’s work was featured in the group exhibition “MOT Collection: Walking, Traveling, Moving-From the Great Kanto Earthquake to the Present,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2023); “Glass Tableware in Still Life: Yoko Andersson and 18 painters,” Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2023), which traveled to Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Kumamoto (2024); “MOT Satellite 2017 SPRING – by the deep rivers” Tokyo (2017) and “VOCA”, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (2011). He has also provided images for numerous book covers. In 2013, Kyuryudo published Kiyosumi kaiwai (Kiyosumi and its Environs), a book of Kusanagi’s images and texts.

Press Release Download