Tomoko Obana and Toru Otani

July 23 - August 27, 2022

Tomoko Obana and Toru Otani do not know each-other, however their artistic procedures are neighborly, relishing delight in cartographic compositions, found forms and in rich color; earthy to Victorian from the hands of Obana, and from Old World towards Fauve in the hands of Otani. 

For her vitrine sculptures, Tomoko Obana collects vintage, industrially produced wares such as water and perfume bottles, jugs, bud vases and more. She makes a mold of these found objects by which she produces one hundred casts; ten each of ten different types of clay slip, kiln fired with various woods, amounting to one-hundred unique “ash glazed” iterations. The artist contemplates the nuances of sooty and dappled surfaces of her objects and settles on arrangements which may, in the Western canon, resemble the paintings of Giorgio Morandi, but which, for the artist, give a nod to the aesthetic disciplines of Japanese Ikebana flower arrangements or dry, rock gardens.

For his mixed-media artworks, Toru Otani collects vintage printed packaging and building materials such as 2x4s, plasterboard and especially, sandpaper. He cuts and assembles these found materials to create the grounds on which he works with various instruments, mainly colored pencils. The artist isolates details of the pre-printed and patterned materials often found on the back-side, chooses what to reveal, what to conceal and what to connect, and settles on compositions which employ a positive / negative space logic with roots in Surrealism.

The paired presentations by Tomoko Obana and Toru Otani mark the first overseas solo exhibition for each artist. Nonaka-Hill has previously exhibited Obana’s work in not titled not untitled and Otani’s work in Busy Work at Home. Both artists live and work in Japan.

Tomoko Obana was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1985. She graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design, Department of Arts and Crafts. Her works have been exhibited at Gallery Fukka, Tokyo and Gallery Sokyo, Kyoto. She held a one-year residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

Toru Otani was born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1988. He received his BFA and MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts. His solo exhibitions include spctrum, imlabor, Tokyo (2020), planet, Kodama Gallery, Tokyo (2017) and Casablanca, Kodama Gallery, Kyoto (2015). Toru Otani’s works are courtesy of XYZ collective.

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