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PEOPLEText: Mariko Takei

Yoko Kawamoto is an illustrator who is a self taught painter that started to paint in the end of the 90’s. Up to now she has explored her career through presenting her works at exhibitions nationally and internationally as well as working on her own work-collective book, cover art for CD’s, etc…and she is now ready to showcase her oil paintings, which have been completed over the past 3 years in her solo exhibition “for the present” which is being held at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND from May 16.

Yoko Kawamoto
Yoko Kawamoto, Untitled, Oil on canvas, 606 × 409 mm, 2006, Courtesy of the artist and NANZUKA UNDERGROUND

As long as we live, we see various sceneries in our everyday lives. As there are boundless unseen sceneries we never pass by, there are also boundless forgotten sceneries we pass by in everyday life. Yoko Kawamoto focuses on such “passed-over” landscapes for her painting works.

Born in Oita in 1967, Kawamoto started to paint after she quit her job. She then started her artistic career wherein she won a prize in a public competition in 1988 organized by Illustration Magazine. Since then, she has kept painting continuously; as if she took a boat rocking in the water, drifting with the tide to go on a journey to paint from one place to next.

Yoko Kawamoto
Yoko Kawamoto Solo Exhibition “for the present” Exhibition view, NANZUKA UNDERGROUND, 2009.

Since her first solo exhibition, Ordinary Day at ROCKET in 1999, Kawamoto gained opportunities to show her work at exhibitions including group exhibitions at Gallery Speakfor twice, another group exhibition, MOVEMENT, held at Sendai Mediatheque in 2001, a group exhibition, Remarkable Hands, in 2005 and a solo exhibition, Drifter, in 2007 both at ATM Gallery in NY. In addition to exhibitions, she has worked on the CD cover work for ZOO by Fantastic Plastic Machine and a visual work for Issey Miyake.

Yoko Kawamoto
Yoko Kawamoto, Untitled, Oil on canvas, 606 × 375 mm, 2006, Courtesy of the artist and NANZUKA UNDERGROUND

“I like things that are just there unnoticed by all.”
As Yoko mentions above, the subjects she paints are consistent with desolate places where you have passed once in your life; unintentional sceneries that you have seen in your every day life but with some forgettable motifs like scraps, discarded cars, warehouses, animals and figures.

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