Saturday, May 3, 2014

Artworks by Kazumi Yoshida : "every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being."

Skalar Modern is thrilled and honored to be showing (and sharing with you!) the work of artist, designer and friend, Kazumi Yoshida. As the long-time art director of peerless American textile firm, Clarence House, Kazumi gently, gesturally, but ever so vividly, has created a signature, an utterly distinctive style, elevating an Old World documentary practice with ease and naturalism into conversation with contemporary art and contemporary ways of seeing. It is, in its fashion, quite radical to take an 18th century fabric (a document), design cribbed from the East literally and figuratively, conjure its elements and remake it from an Eastern perspective, with the broad, uninhibited strokes of a Japanese ink-drawing. It is a distinct pleasure then, to see through these sculptural paintings how ideas emerge from Kazumi's spry visual consciousness, and how he masters and remasters color, form, space and wild narrative. There is something inherent across Kazumi's practice that suggests to us the above line from Camus' Rebel (1951), but he operates a bit above the plane of rooty rebellion, delicately making that total "appeal to the essence of being," showing restraint but also a sort of newborn, spring boldness, sending up what is most human, most universal. 

Among our collection, in the earlier bird series and glorious pair of portraits, one can see the distinct style which Yoshida brought to Clarence House, but in service to the most other-worldly creature-stories, new whimsical mythologies—polka-dotted and caped jester and warrior birds, a serious and perhaps love-lorn set of artist-mariners emanating little drawings from their heads. Having absorbed the bright, strange, astral possibilites of these figures, one becomes completely engaged in the shape, the sculpture, how they were made, so expertly layered, both emerging and receding.

In the more recent, minimal and formal works featured, we find Kazumi has delved wholly into explorations of space, space as texture, space as feeling. Though these works indicate classic Minimalism, they are not severe or strident; they are still—however pared down—worlds meant to be entered, chambers, cities, hopeful in their blankness.

Please visit our Warren Street showroom to peer into them yourself, glimpsing new worlds wrought by a great and graceful master of craft and po├Ćesis.

While in-store, you can also peruse our copy of Kazumi's gorgeous 2011 Rizzoli monograph tracing the history of Clarence House from archive and memory (a joyful noise). And in the meantime : an ELLE Decor feature from the same year, a rare peek into Kazumi's own vibrant Manhattan home as featured on the book's cover (you'll find our large bird canvas hung above the guest room daybed)—