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Art review: Tomoo Gokita at Honor Fraser Gallery

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Tokyo-based painter Tomoo Gokita has named his show of ethereal blue-and-white canvases ‘Heaven,’ and a hard-fought, idealized sense of dreamy pleasure floats through the best works. Like melting ice sculpture, they seem poised between states of being.

The strongest canvases are square. (Those come in three sizes – small, medium and, at 76 inches, large.) Another seven upright, vertical formats encourage reading their painterly abstract shapes as figures against a ground – as torsos, heads and various body parts. The neutral squares make no such demands.

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There, the painted shapes get free play. A solid form shimmies into vaporous space. A tongue sensuously licks surface- paint. Bodily viscera dissolve into elegant brush strokes. Linear geometries attempt to build a stable, sturdy structure, only to finally refuse to coalesce.

Gokita’s paintings tell an abstract narrative of sensual metamorphosis. In the most dramatic, animal innards wrestle with machine parts before both evaporate into clouds. The balance is precarious and destabilizing, and heavenly to watch.

– Christopher Knight

Honor Fraser Gallery, 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, (310) 837-0191, through Dec. 19. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.honorfraser.com


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