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Kaz Oshiro at Nonaka-Hill


Before Kaz Oshiro’s solo exhibition was installed at Nonaka-Hill, the gallery was painted a peaceful blue, and Sōfu Teshigahara’s delicate ikebana sculptures were placed on a serene bed of rocks.

Compared to the highly composed nature of Teshigaraha’s exhibition, Oshiro’s work feels ad-hoc and paused mid-installation. Teshigaraha’s blue walls are partially painted over with white. Paint rollers, crates, ladders, and buckets are strewn throughout the gallery. A large dumpster sits center stage.

Yet with Oshiro, nothing is quite as it seems. Rounding the corner of the back side of the dumpster — which is expressively painted with colorful Abstract Expressionist flair — it becomes clear that it is, in fact, a painting. The slap-dash installation suddenly snaps into view as highly specific. Every screw hole and tape roll becomes a small composition to study. Other “paintings” come in forms of seat cushions, speakers, I-Beams, and trash cans. These are mixed with found objects like paint rollers, screws, and buckets to further complicate Oshiro’s illusion.

A previous press release for a show at Honor Fraser Gallery explained that “Oshiro is most interested in what he calls ‘dirty minimalism,’ a variation on the aesthetics of minimalism that allows for subject matter beyond the artwork itself.” And a series of monochrome paintings in the second gallery literally look dirty, as if the installers covered them with dust and hastily tried to wipe it off — all part of Oshiro’s slick trompe l’œil.