Tokyo-based artist Tomoo Gokita paints evocative human figures in a muted grayscale tone. His work draws upon familiar imagery from mainstream and underground visual cultures, including women’s wrestling, showgirls and burlesque performers, vintage playboy bunnies, and politicians. The collection of Gokita’s paintings currently on view at Blum and Poe gallery, Los Angeles includes portrait style paintings of abstract, celebrity-esque figures. In Daughter of a Fraudster, Gokita slyly depicts a women fashioned in traditional wealthy accouterment, posing for a portrait.

Gokita’s paintings infuse elements of surrealism and neo-expressionism, though he positions himself as a self taught artist who does not intentionally reference the canon of art history. Perhaps more intentional is his use of pop cultural tropes, which stems from a long career as a graphic designer and illustrator in the entertainment industry. Gokita’s paintings are expressive and provocative. The use of thick brush strokes and abstract shapes creates a kind of aggression in the masking out of eyes and faces, evading the souls of these gestural and flirtatious bodies. The viewer is left feeling implicated in a seditious act of gazing.

– Erika Barbosa

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