Ai☆Madonna: THE TAME DOG and THE HARE July 7th – 29th July, 2023 GR gallery 255 Bowery New York 10002
GR gallery is pleased to announce ‘THE TAME DOG and THE HARE’, the first solo presentation of Tokyo-based artist, Ai☆Madonna, in the U.S. The exhibition features the artist newest series of portraits that derive from her recurring reveries, related to the almost total lack of childhood and adolescence memories. These artworks are the result of a systematic research and a fanciful visualization, of how her girlhood would have been.
The show puts together 15 shaped artworks of various sizes, executed with the artist radical signature technique; Ai☆Madonna will complete a large live painting, as part of a performance, during the opening event.
The works presented are the latest evolution of the series ‘Can’t Recall Her Face’ started in 2010, where Ai☆Madonna painted front portraits of various teenage girls faces in the ethereal attempt to remember and depict her own. The exclusive focus on female personalities and the recurrent presence of the ideogram ‘愛’ (Ai) in the pictures highlight the research of her lost childhood.
In search of understanding how girlhood is presented, Ai☆Madonna looks back to her protagonists hypothetical past by highlighting profound moments of connection and intimacy in the attempt of helping each other bonding in creating a flawless imagery.
The vivid Manga influences in the artist style are somehow overturned by the action of cutting out the body of the character, an action considered taboo in this realm, and leaving all the connections just to the expression of the face and the reflections in the eyes. After years of investigating this issue the artist felt like the square canvas boundaries couldn’t restrain her ‘girls’ anymore so she decided to start performing on something new and more suitable for her expression by shaping the surfaces around the characters.
Born in Tokyo in 1984, Ai Kato graduated from Makoto Aida’s “Barabara Art Class” at Bigakko Art School in 2014, and has been performing live paintings as “Ai☆Madonna” since 2007. Her activity as an artist has spanned over a wide range of fields, not only exhibiting her artworks, but also collaborating with musicians, designing costumes for Japanese idols, and publishing her own manga called “Hakua”.
The basis for Kato’s work is her childhood memories. As a young girl, she was ambiguously attracted to bodies of other young girls by admiration or by sensuality – memories of which remain vivid for her. Kato started to paint “beautiful girls,” almost a goddess-like existence to her at times, initially to cheer herself up during her teenage years that were full of complex and stress, as she was forced to suddenly become an adult from a child. Even after she started to become active as an artist, she continued to engross herself, portraying “beautiful girl” as the ultimate expression of her emotions. Her work has been extensively exhibited all around Asia in private galleries and public spaces.
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