Be Here, For Sure: The US Debut of Maiko Kobayashi @ GR Gallery, NYC

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GR Gallery, NYC // October 07, 2023 – October 28, 2023

GR gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Japanese artist Maiko Kobayashi with the gallery and US debut, Be Here, For Sure. The exhibition show will present a new series that strongly highlights the artist’s choice of her characters and their personalities -clearly referred and inspired by real people that crossed the artist’s path- and on the connections occurring between them and the empathy generated in their creator. The title emphasizes the rising importance of factuality in these days when is more then ever needed to be present, active and creative. This exhibition will reveal to the public fifteen artworks on canvas in various sizes and a live painting. This new body of work is pushing further beyond the edge Kobayashi’s signature technique, consisting in multiple semi-transparent layering of acrylic, color pencil, watercolor crayons and washi paper sheets, where one level partially reveals the one under, symbolizing the complexity of her acclaimed creatures.

“Is this world gradually heading towards ruin? I often feel anxious and saddened by the world news that floods the mobile device in my hand. I am disappointed in myself for not being able to do anything about it. The world is not equal. The more I grow up, the more I know and the more unanswerable my worries are. Still, no, that’s why I try to look up. I cycle and paint in my studio in a city with blue skies, small but full of trees and greenery. No matter what is happening or what is happening in the world, what is for sure now is that I am here. I am here, and I can only be here. Yes, I can only be here and paint. So, I made the paintings that can only be done here. I did make the paintings that can only be painted now. I did the best I could with the limited time I had in my life, that’s all.”

This is the preface that inspired Kobayashi for the creation of this new body of work, always populated by her whimsical and cryptic characters. Cute and adorable -a sort of bunny/puppy/child hybrid- at a first glance; the omnipresent clue of melancholy and the deep, tense expression in its eyes immediately reveal the unprecedented sophistication of these creatures, building a complex and  idiosyncratic psychological discrepancy. They are neither humans nor animals but certainly exist in the real world by being formed as artworks. Her creatures are always watching what is happening in our place and thinking about what is going on, feeling all sort of things.

As Kobayashi explains in a recent interview: ‘The impressions of my creatures are not just a reflection of emotions, it’s a duplication of layers upon layers of sentiments. You might not be able to absorb all the senses I’ve delivered at first glance, and the comprehension could differ from each person. It has layers, for instance, emptiness first, then you feel the peacefulness seething through after a long stare. Sometimes my creatures are all recorded in a sobbing impression, but it could also be a state when the sadness has just passed’. All these levels of perception are now acquiring a new and revitalized context focusing on actual complexions, affiliation and proximity.”

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