Kaz Oshiro — Home Anthology
Past: September 4 → October 23, 2010
Kaz Oshiro’s “Home Anthology” show at Frank Elbaz brings together commonplace objects and American cultural emblems in a weird domestic ballet. A trashcan off the street, pigeonholes from an office: such everyday consumer items from a megalopolis like Los Angeles are the kind of things we no longer even notice, yet each tiny detail has a slice of life to recount. And anyone wanting to query the legitimacy of their presence in this art setting almost a century after Marcel Duchamp’s bottle rack is invited to walk around any particular piece — and find out that what looks like the umpteenth readymade is in fact a three-dimensional image. Behind the scenes, so to speak, is all the complex tangle of an Oshiro stretched canvas. Yes, this really is painting: and of a rigorously studio-executed, uncompromisingly hyperrealist form, as Kaz Oshiro sets about getting reality and its changes down in what he calls “still lifes with volume”.
Like Don Eddy and Tom Blackwell back in the old days, this young artist uses painterliness to achieve a photo-sharp spatiality exact enough to fool the keenest eye. This interest in hyperrealism, he says mischievously, is rooted in an urge to work discreetly, not to say in utter invisibility. And while his stated aim is less the striking illusion than the realistic still life, it’s hard not to be impressed by a level of manual skill and outrageous precision that has you wondering about just how many dozens of hours he’s spent getting it right. Yet Oshiro himself counters the performative and demonstrative readings his work can trigger with the humility of craftsman-ascetic: his vision of the world, embodied here in the gallery by these “definitely-not — readymades”, is filtered exclusively through the methodological prism of the passionate artisan.
And since he’s been producing exact reproductions of utilitarian and household items, why not try the same thing with other stuff? Works of art for example. Result: in Flat Works and Shelves, his new series of duplications of abstract objects, the young Angeleno braves the great classics of American art with minimalist coloured modules overtly referencing such iconic figures as Donald Judd, John McCracken and Ad Reinhardt. Lacerated and patched up with tape like his other objects, the works seem to bear the marks of dogged domestic maintenance. Here the artist who claims allegiance to Neo-Geo appears to be in the footsteps equally of John Armeleder and his Furniture Sculptures and of 100% West-Coast-irreverent Paul McCarthy. The upshot is the ultimate demystification of the work’s presence in a collector’s living room: reduction of functional purity to interior design.
Kaz Oshiro Opening Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 6 PM