"Untitled" (2009); h.194×w.130.3cm, Oil, canvas, courtesy of the artist and ARATANIURANO copy right(c) Izumi KATO
Izumi Kato was born in 1969 in Shimane prefecture, graduated from the Department of Painting of Musashino Art University, and had an absence of several years before beginning his work as an artist. Since then, he has actively presented his works both domestically and internationally.
In 2007, he became the first young Japanese painter to be invited to the 52nd Venice Biennale International Exhibition directed by Robert Storr, former senior curator of painting and sculpture at MoMA and art critic. There, Kato presented his paintings and drawings, unfolding his own unique world and holding his own on the world stage. Also, in the "Garden of Painting ‒ Japanese Art of the 00s" exhibit currently on display (to April 4) at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Kato's works of an enormous wooden sculpture with four legs and paintings are held in Gallery 1, adding impact to the intro ductory section of this show.
In Kato's paintings, figures and shapes of people such as men, women, and children are tenaciously drawn. However, these are anonymous nobodies to the end with an intensity that evokes a larger framework of "humanity," while his unique expression suggests primordial life. The beauty and variety of color, which is one of the distinct characteristics of Kato's paintings, has markedly increased in recent years and his pieces seem to have begun to eloquently confront the world, giving us enduring value.
Kato's wooden sculptures, which have become a serious undertaking in addition to paintings from around 2004, give off a strong presence as if they have arrived beyond the boundaries of Kato's paintings and our world.
This two-part exhibition was entitled "SOUL UNION" by Kato to express how formless thoughts and values are shared across blood relations and ethnicity, and how they are passed down to complete strangers as if they are genetic material. We hope viewers will be reminded of the strength and possibility of art to influence across time and space through this exhibition.
* The text provided by ARATANIURANO.