Yutaka Watanabe "NAME"

08 September - 07 October 2018

Opening reception:Saturday, September 8, 18:00 - 20:00

Maki Fine Arts is pleased to present NAME, a solo show by Yutaka Watanabe, starting Saturday, September 8, 2018. Born 1981 in Tokyo, Watanabe received his MFA in 2007 from Musashino Art University with a concentration in painting. Recent solo shows include soft construction (Maki Fine Arts, 2017), The good old things is new forever (switch point, 2016), and Melting land (JIKKA, 2015).

For his newest works in NAME, Watanabe takes internet search engine results of a person's first and last name and assembles some elements of the image from those results to paint a multifaceted portrait. The organic forms and the overlapping colors in his portraits are reminiscent of the architectural surfaces found in works of cubism.

I strived to paint a superhuman portrait, a symbol of rarity.

In my previous works, I used points, lines, and colors to draw nonliteral structures based on vague realities of subjects such as the house a grew up in--a memory which lingers clearly in my mind--, or the empty lot that remained after that house was torn down. For this show, I replaced inorganic symbols, such as a house or a structure from my memory, with organic symbols, such as a person or cat that actually exist, to create using a multilateral view based on certain criteria.

The criteria I used were names.

There is the phrase "aptly named," a concept of substance matching its name. Some aspects of this concept have been scientifically proven, and I was intrigued by the wonders of how a first or last name being used in verbal or written form determined action, as though the action was carved into the letters. This curiosity led me to search a name and look at the results--a collection based on a certain name as a sign--, dissect some of the human-body characteristics, and then combine them to paint a portrait. While the difference from my previous works is that I used subjects that actually exists, I have carried over the method of dissecting a certain number of elements and then combining them. By implementing this method, the subject becomes more explicit, and the image more powerful. These works are, of course, mediated through me as an individual before reaching completion, and therefore, my artistic tendencies as a painter have strongly influenced them. Instead of evoking a singular person, however, I believe the name as a sign evokes a resonating and universal image.

Yutaka Watanabe

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渡辺豊 / Yutaka Watanabe
2018, oil on canvas

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