The Hole is proud to present the much-anticipated first solo exhibition by Misaki Kawai at a New York gallery in six years. In Hair Show, Kawai will present large scale sculpture, painting, drawing and furniture. After traveling around Asia for the bulk of 2013, Kawai returned to her studio in Brooklyn with not only tons of sketches and ideas but also materials gathered from Tibet to Vietnam; all manner of fabric, textiles and her favourite pom-poms. These materials are incorporated into her world of whimsy as she turns drawings into paintings, sculpture into wall works, sketches into furniture, transmuting simple materials into new characters.
The enormous sculpture in the show, Max, is based on a dog Kawai sees every day being walked on her block, a black Scottish terrier, and the artwork comes with oversized combs for you to comb him with. Max also inspired comb-able paintings on the walls of various other breeds that come with various other sized combs. Throughout the space you can sit on sculptures by the artist made into jocular benches including Bubble Bench, a line of of large boobed ladies. From your boob you can survey the myriad paintings in the exhibition, some made with yarn, crumpled paper, or the huge charcoal on canvas paintings (as above) where her image-making is pared down to the most bare shapes and lines.
Kawai's work fits well into Japanese artist King Terry's appellation of "Heta-Uma" or Bad Good, so off or so basic or so wrong that it is right. Her world of personified objects, boobs butts and farts, animals and plants, are all communicated in a rudimentary but evocative way. Similar to the approach of American artist Donald Baechler, her images are basic and repeated, clowning and playful, childlike without being childish. Their minimal suggestiveness inspires us to read shapes and forms in a new way and to see unexpected things in the world around us.
Kawai has exhibited widely, in recent years mostly at institutions. She has had a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2007); a solo show at one of Japan’s leading private institutions, the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2006); and was included in “Greater New York 2” at PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2005). More recently, she was included in "The Big Bang" at The Watermill Center NY (2012); "Fun" at Rhiihimaki Art Museum Finland (2012); and presented solo museum exhibitions at Malmo Konsthall (2011) and at the Children's Museum of Art in New York City (2012). In 2009 she was included in “Visions of the Frontier” at Institut Valencia d’Art Modern and “I Believe: Japanese Contemporary Art” at the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama.