Nov 1, 2018 / by Jimmy Wright / Artist Magazine
Ryosuke Kumakura’s cat paintings are, in part, a contemporary painter’s manifestation of the Shinto tradition of displaying spirit charms in the home. Such charms include maneki-neko, the lucky cat that brings good fortune, and the paper tailsmans known as ofuda. By folding the canvas corners into ears and painting hidden footprints on the paintings folds over the bottom edge of the stretcher, Kumakura fuses the painted image and the canvas together as a singular amulet. The Western classical painting tradition is used to present the Japanese concept of the ‘spirit body,’ and in the process, the artist subverts the genre of kitsch pet-portrait painting.