Tomoo Gokita (b. 1969 Tokyo, Japan)
Gokita's drawings made with pencil, charcoal and ink on paper first began to receive attention in the late 1990s. His popularity expanded domestically and internationally after the publication of Lingerie Wrestling, a collection of his works to date, in 2000.
His style and technique continue to evolve as he perennially pushes his practice in new directions. Although he is best known for his black and white works, he has in fact employed a rich array of visual vocabulary to produce a variety of pieces including series of blue paintings, stenciled works, collages, and sculptures. From the start of 2020, Gokita return to color paintings; his solo exhibition held in Italy in March and Taka Ishii Gallery in August consisted exclusively of color works. Gokita uses soft tones and a unique palette to address a diverse array of subjects. The paintings combine seemingly effortless expression and rich textures to suggest a new evolutionary step in the artist’s oeuvre. The fruitful transformations that Gokita gracefully achieves by altering material and process also highlight the unwavering essence of his practice. Gokita has absorbed an extraordinarily wide range of elements from various styles in his own way. These include Cubism, Surrealism, Symbolism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and Simulationism, as well as styles from the fields of commercial design, commercial photography, illustration and typography. Gokita continues to brilliantly refine all of these influences. His unique attitude towards art production straightforwardly communicates the pleasure he takes in painting.
In 2012, his work was featured in “The Unseen Relationship: Form and Abstraction” at the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art. In 2014, “THE GREAT CIRCUS,” a solo exhibition, was held at the same museum. In April 2018, “PEEKABOO” was held at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery followed by “Get Down” held at Dallas Contemporary, Texas in June 2021. His first solo exhibition with Taka Ishii Gallery was held in 2008, followed by “Variety Show” (2012), “Holy Cow” (2017), “MOO” (2020), and “Diary” (2022).
The works for which Tomoo Gokita is best known are based on images—often sourced from pornography, comics, or wrestling magazines—that the artist skillfully distorts or partially erases to create abstract compositions that seem to mimic gestural expressionism as much as geometric patterns.
—Artforum, Giorgio Verzotti