PATRON is proud to present our second solo exhibition with New Hampshire-based artist Ryosuke Kumakura. The exhibition titled Hold will open to the public on Saturday, June 27 and will continue through August 29. There will be no opening reception for this exhibition. The gallery will be open by appointment only until further notice. Our summer hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11AM to 5PM.
“My paintings attempt to hold viewers in the physical space around them, or the space inside their memories, rather than the virtual world or someone else’s fantasy.”
The word Hold is defined as “to grasp, carry, or support with one’s arms or hands,” “to embrace,” “to contain,” and “to have in one’s possession,” among many other variations. A simple four-letter word, Hold is dense in meaning and an apt metaphor for Ryosuke Kumakura’s practice. Delicately painting the seemingly banal, such as t-shirts, socks, underwear, cats, and, in the case of this exhibition, towels and furs, Kumakura examines the poetics of small intimacies to reflect upon the essence and emotions of our everyday lives. Each work he creates is rendered with a tender precision, capturing the stains on the t-shirt of a past lover, the hole in the sole of a worn sock, or the frayed edge on a bathroom towel. These imperfections gesture towards the true spirit of a thing, not only holding the existence of those who have used and loved the objects, but also giving the painting an essence in and of itself. These qualities along with an intimacy of scale invite the viewer to come in and come close.
Fascinated by the unstated rules that dictate our routines, Kumakura began painting towels in 2019 after observing the habits of his partner. Replicating the neat and precise way his husband folds towels across the bar, each work is composed of draped painted canvas over wooden stretchers. While technically stunning in their use of trompe l’oeil the works are born from an interest in understanding the ethos of his partner, and the simple, yet beautiful differences of approaching space in the home that is always negotiated in relationships.
Interspersed in the gallery space, the exhibition also includes three new works from Kumakura’s Fur series, an abstraction of his ongoing cat portraiture. In these works the essence of the animal is distilled into texture, color, and form, highlighting the physicality of the canvas and the process of painting itself. Working with a small brush, each strand of hair is softly rendered, begging to be touched and reminding the viewer of the sensation of holding onto something you love.
In the summer of 2019, Kumakura relocated from New York to rural New Hampshire. Compared to the light and atmosphere of New York, the darkness in New Hampshire is deep, milky, and sometimes sinister. At night it is difficult to see out the window. The only forms visible beyond the glass are distortions of the moving forest and often the reflection of oneself in an interior space. Night Window, the newest work in this exhibition, considers this sensation. The work details the tree-scape beyond his bedroom window, rendered on paper with homemade charcoal. Presented in an artist frame with double paned glass, the work recreates the act of gazing into the darkness. It evokes a deep sense of loneliness and longing, inviting the viewer to step closer, holding them in their own reflection.