REFLECTIONS curated by Rachel Vancelette | 2011



Exhibition presenting Japanese artists Hideaki Kawashima, Makiko Kudo and Toru Kuwakubo on display from September 14 to October 14, 2011

New York, New YorkfordPROJECT announces the opening of Reflections, a group exhibition showcasing three young Japanese artists, Hideaki Kawashima, Makiko Kudo and Toru Kuwakubo. The exhibition inaugurates a collaboration with the Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo, widely recognized as a leading gallery in the representation of contemporary Japanese artists.

The term “reflection” is defined as “careful or long consideration of thought.” In the wake of the recent tragedy, and with the current rebuilding of their nation, a new generation of Japanese artists is emerging with a unique vision that provides an innermost perspective of the “self” when seen through the looking glass of Japanese society. The paintings selected for this exhibition can be characterized as a glimpse into the souls of the people as seen by the observer.

Diverging from Western norms, the Japanese believe that mirrors are not instruments of vanity and self-assessment, but of contemplation as a window to one’s “inner self.” In the mirror, the Japanese seek the reflection of their personalities and the effect of their actions and words on others. This belief can be traced culturally to Shinto shrines whose mirrors are the central sacred objects. Reflections, curated by fordPROJECT managing director Rachel Vancelette, uses the concept to present the artistic process and practice of three artists as a snapshot of, or window into, depictions of Japanese expression of self and society.

The first of these artists, Hideaki Kawashima, use portraits of individuals with imagery of floating ghost-like faces. The artist refers to the works as “something like self-portraits.” He is known almost exclusively for his singular style and uses actresses from movies or familiar people to evoke a dreamlike meditative state. The artist’s work was included in “Little Boy," curated by Takashi Murakami, at the Japan Society in New York in 2005.

 Makiko Kudo’s paintings, almost personal diaries, depict narratives told within childlike dreamscapes. Bold colors and simplistic brushstrokes put the simple events of the day into Hideaki Kawashima, green, acrylic on canvas, 2010, courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery process that unfolds before the viewer’s eyes. Objects and characters define the environments with rhythmic displays and unique compositions, inspired by the artist’s own dreams, memories and emotions. Detached from space and time, the paintings explore the relationship between dreams and facts. Kudo’s paintings have not been exhibited widely in the United States, but are included in the collections of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.


The final artist, Toru Kuwakubo, creates intimate landscapes and portraits that use a heavy painting approach and a bird’s eye view to explore mystical and known environments. The works often depict his surroundings, from studio to nature to friends. Central to his painting practices are images of nature, such as seascapes, the sky, snow and rain. This is the first presentation of Kuwakubo’s work in the United States.

In tandem, the 20th floor solarium will feature a site-specific installation by emerging New York based artist Brendan Lynch.

fordPROJECT, launched in January 2011, is a gallery space designed for site-specific installations, exhibitions, artist commissions, art collectives, curatorial programs, collaborative initiatives and more.