PUBLIC Gallery present Kentaro Okawara’s debut UK solo exhibition, Hold Tight. The show unveils a new series of paintings, sculptures and drawings that explore the theme of love through symmetry and the artist’s unique yet universal language.
The exhibition continues Okawara’s long held belief that making art is an expression of love and a means to connect with each other. Throughout the show the notion of ‘connecting’ manifests in a variety of ways: literally through the act of embracing referenced in the title; visually through Okawara’s focus on symmetry; and intelligibly through universal motifs.
Okawara’s works, including found objects subsequently embellished, present a surreal yet familiar cast of characters. In each piece a cocktail of humans, creatures, and personified objects interact with each other in intimate and bizarre ways to create a world that can be endearingly engaged by all. This idea of inclusivity is at the core of Okawara’s practice:
“I want to continue to create a space and a world that can be shared across cultures and generations. When I was growing up, I began to realise that everyone has a different way of seeing and experiencing the world. I began to see that even though the world is big and complex, it is also very intertwined. It all comes down to the simplest and most important level which is connecting with people.”
Within Okawara’s world of bright colours and stylised motifs he addresses the importance of direct eye-to-eye and face-to-face communication. In this digital age where we seem to exchange our thoughts and feelings primarily over the Internet, Okawara’s work encourages us to think again, cast aside our differences and reconnect to our shared humanity.
Hold Tight runs at PUBLIC Gallery from 10 July – 3 August
Naila Scargill is the publisher and editor of horror journal Exquisite Terror. Holding a broad editorial background, she has worked with an eclectic variety of content, ranging from film and the counterculture, to political news and finance.