Jack Hanley Gallery East Hampton is excited to present the first solo exhibition by New York-based artist Koichi Sato.
While growing up in Tokyo, Japan and before moving to New York in the late 90s, Koichi Sato was fascinated with old American magazines that portrayed the sports players, sitcom stars, astronauts and cheerleaders of American pop culture. The language of his paintings is strongly informed by the pictures in those magazines, and gives them a distinct vintage feel that is evoked through thick mustaches and style choices of the 70s and 80s.
The joyful group portraits are never depictions of actual people but instead imaginary characters in invented scenes. Humans and animals pose together in fictitious settings of tropics, the desert or unknown lands of rainbows, facing the viewer, laughing and proudly presenting themselves. Their inventiveness becomes especially clear when taking a closer look at the figures’ fingers in which their polydactyly is based on Sato’s personal decision-making when he thinks ‘there are enough’.
A vivacious and playful application of paint with short brush strokes and dots is paired with a lighter, washy technique seen around their faces, with drippings sometimes running down the surface. With the
combination of the painting techniques and bursts of color paired with an imagery synthesized from different places, times and cultures, the paintings feel like a celebration of life itself.
Koichi Sato (b. 1974 in Tokyo) is a self-taught artist based in New York. He has had solo shows at Bill Brady Gallery in Miami, Woaw in Hong Kong, and the Hole, New York. Selected group exhibitions include THE UPSTAIRS at Bortolami, New York; Anecdote at Stems Gallery in Brussels; Global Pop Underground at Parko Museum, Tokyo; Punch at Deitch in both Los Angeles and New York; Bill Brady Gallery alongside Susumu Kamijo in New York; and most recently at Galerie Nagel Draxler in Cologne.