Whether working in greyscale or in color, Tomoo Gokita’s paintings have long been characterized by their psychologically charged subject matter: uncanny portraits, disquieting still lifes, and dream-like abstractions. The cast of cultural archetypes seen in his works of the past decade – from wrestlers and starlets to dancers and bureaucrats – were initially drawn from photographs the artist found in vintage magazines and newspapers. Once immersed in the process of applying paint to canvas, he would spontaneously distort these images. In his recent paintings, however, Gokita no longer refers to printed matter: the figures and forms emerge directly from his imagination. More ethereal and amorphous than before, Gokita’s supernatural figures are at once angelic and demonic, reminiscent of androids, aliens, and other undefinable chimeras. They recall the ominous creatures of sci-fi B-movies while evoking the vernaculars of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Giorgio De Chirico, Francis Bacon, and Philip Guston. This conflation of the subconscious and the conscious is mirrored in the creative process itself, in which Gokita often paints and repaints the subject, sometimes changing the orientation of the canvas mid-way through, creating both literal and psychological palimpsests of rejected, reconciled, and mutated forms.
[excerpted from Blum & Poe website: www.blumandpoe.com]
Gokita lives and works in Tokyo. Recent exhibitions include his first solo museum presentation outside Japan at Dallas Contemporary in 2021, PEEKABOO at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, and a retrospective, THE GREAT CIRCUS, at Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura. His work has also been featured in notable surveys at Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi; Torrance Art Museum; MACRO Future Museum, Rome; and Pera Museum, Istanbul. Gokita’s work is included in institutional collections such as the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles; and the X Museum, Beijing.