From August 30 to September 30, Marrow Gallery will showcase Transvaluation, an exhibition by San Francisco-based painter Hiroshi Sato. This will be Sato’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery, presenting entirely new artwork. The exhibition delves into Sato’s recent experiences and reflections on the prevailing cultural atmosphere shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of fascism, and the consequences of rapid technological advancements. Through his art, Sato advocates for sincere painting as a remedy for the growing absurdity arising from late-stage capitalism and its corresponding reactions.
Drawing inspiration from Edward Hopper’s socio-economic existentialism, Sato skillfully captures the essence of isolation and disconnection in contemporary San Francisco. His portrayals reflect the prevailing social consciousness characterized by post-pandemic alienation. Even in scenes where Sato’s subjects come together, there is an underlying tension, hinting at the ever-present threat of isolation—a shared experience during these tumultuous times. While Hopper depicted the hardships of Depression-era New York, Sato’s San Francisco is also a city grappling with the financial crisis, depicted as an urban backdrop in a state of decline. This aspect of Sato’s work is partly autobiographical, as he personally experiences the challenges faced by artists residing in a city where soaring living costs have forced many creatives to relocate, turning the once vibrant city into a ghostly shell.
Sato’s skillful manipulation of light and color, reminiscent of the Bay Area Figurative Movement, signals a new artistic direction for the painter. Departing from realism, Sato embraces a more abstract approach to figuration. This shift serves as both an homage to the Bay Area, where his paintings come to life and an additional layer of political commentary. By employing this artistic style, Sato offers a tangible counterbalance to his metaphysical sincerity. In an era dominated by digital interactions and virtual art experiences, Sato’s unwavering focus on the tangible qualities of paint carries a potent political message. It resists the allure of cultural phenomena like NFTs and AI-generated illustrations that exploit the art world. Additionally, it disrupts the visual cues typically used to discern individuals, as Sato deliberately incorporates minimalistic elements that introduce ambiguity regarding the characters’ gender, race, and social class.
All images © by Marrow Gallery and Hiroshi Sato. Do not hesitate to browse through the Art section on WE AND THE COLOR for more news and inspiration from all over the world.
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