“Masato Kobayashi: Light Painting”

by Edan Corkill

Shugoarts
Closes in 24 days

Masato Kobayashi has an unconventional view of the canvas. For a start, his are only attached precariously to the wooden frames that would normally keep them taut and rectangular. It’s as if he has stumbled upon a roll of fabric, painted on it, and then nailed it or draped it haphazardly on pieces of wood.

The approach has served him well, as a new show at Shugoarts (www.shugoarts.com) attests. Kobayashi returned to Japan earlier this year, after 11 years in Belgium. He’s now set up a studio overlooking the Seto Inland Sea in Hiroshima Prefecture and, as he explained at the opening reception on Saturday, he’s been painting the sky.

“You know, the sky goes with anything. It suits the New York skyline as much as it does natural scenery,” says Kobayashi. “I wanted to capture that feeling of neutrality.” Each of his new canvases has been covered in a uniformly rich coat of silver, and then roughly nailed to irregularly shaped frames. The effect is enchanting. The light plays off their undulations, creating a tonal range from dark gray to white. Change the source of the light and a completely new skyscape is thrown into relief.

“I wanted to make paintings that look like they are made of light, that are so weightless they feel like they will float away,” says the artist. Not only has he succeeded, but he’s managed to make the viewer feel the same way.