Alberto Peola Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Italy of work by the Japanese artist Yuko Murata.
Under the sky presents intimately scaled oil paintings of empty landscapes and portraits of animals.
In Murata's work the repetition of subjects from nature and the essential character of their depiction evoke Japanese painting practices of the eighteenth century, when painting was characterized by a reduced choice of images and a minimal use of color. Therefore, in Murata's paintings we can see animals, the stone gardens of Karesansui, or the passing of the seasons as seen in a landscape's foliage. Her subjects make clear reference to Japanese painting iconography and the paintings use few colors, with just a few half-tones.
At the same time, however, Murata draws her specific subjects from contemporary photography. Her sources are postcards, brochures, magazines, and illustrated encyclopedias. Decontextualized and denied their original function - that of giving information on the landscape and animal life of different fascinating places in the world - her subjects are stripped of every decorative elements and presented in their essentials. In this way Murata represents her subjects through her own personal language, according to a personal vision, in order to render a complete imaginary world. An imaginary world which, because of its clear historical references, is simultaneously also a personal reflection on what has already passed.
The landscapes of Yuko Murata exclude the human figure and are almost abstract. The range of colors used is essential yet sophisticated and can create the impression of being almost monochromatic. All this could give the viewer a sense of cool rigor and measurement. However, on her canvases, as in her works on wooden boards, the broad strokes of a paint-soaked brush are always evident. They impart a physicality and strength and they push against those minimal planes of color. Moreover, the way that Murata paints her subjects, flattening their forms, smoothing their edges, softening them, reveals, beyond the restraint in their presentation, her emotionality and her vision of a world of beauty and balance, of calm and, also, of melancholy.
Yuko Murata was born in Kanagawa, Japan, in 1973. She lives and works in Tokyo.
Recent solo exhibitions: Gallery Side 2, Tokyo; Casey Kaplan, New York; The Songs of Birds, Lammfromm, Tokyo; Ikejiri Institute of Design, Tokyo.
Recent group exhibitions: New and Rising Artists 2007, Pola Museum Annex, Tokyo; Dirty Yoga, curated by Dan Cameron, 2006 Taipei Biennial.