Over the Influence is pleased to present Hiroya Kurata’s first solo exhibition with the gallery – When mother was young
A glimpse into the memories and fantasies of the young artist, the exhibition explores themes of aging from childhood through adulthood. The largest painting in the exhibition And that’s how I found him, a mundane seen of a pitcher who unbeknownst to him is on the verge of a moment of discovery, is Kurata’s fantasy of a young man in an unidentified Southeast Asian town discovered by a baseball scout. In Kurata’s mind, this is the moment that the scout encounters the pitcher while he’s casually throwing a ball. The scout immediately sees his talent and places him on the path towards a professional career, the painting freezing a moment of time that will change the path of this man’s future forever. A man who has never left his country, is invited to experience the world. Everything is tied to this moment of discovery.
For Kurata, the scene is a metaphor for his own discovery of painting. A discovery that has changed the trajectory of his life and allowed him to experience the world in ways he never thought possible. His dreamy compositions of domestic life are both rich with vibrancy and heavy with nostalgia. By employing distorted perspectives, reminiscent of animation, cartoons and graphic novels, he infuses emotion into the natural fleeting moments of everyday life. Kurata’s handling of paint elicits a strong sense of motion, creating interactions that feel familiar and strangely unsettling at the same time. In the title image When mother was young a couple’s heads fuse together in a passionate kiss, a dismayed onlooker peeking over the steering wheel of a parked car. The metaphorical merging of two beings rendered physically proves both tender and disquieting.
Together the works in the exhibition paint a vivid picture of the various stages of life, from youth to adulthood, from a first kiss to a road trip with the family of four. Moments seem to be composed of loose memories such as in the undulating rendering of a young woman watering the garden in And here’s to you Mrs. Robinson. The wavy perspective and loose, distorted treatment of the subjects makes the scene feel as if it is vibrating across dimensions – between a distant memory and a future fantasy. Each painting a snapshot of an unplaced moment in time, the exhibition balances between dream and reality.