For his third solo exhibition with Marlborough, New-York based artist Yoshiaki Mochizuki has created a dozen new paintings on wood panels featuring his signature use of layered gesso, burnishing clay, ink, pigments and precious metal leafing. These materials are each subjected to various treatments including sanding, polishing and manual distressing. Finally, the surfaces are scored with a needle resulting in highly detailed, tightly wrought patterning, and a dynamic excavation of these underlying layers.
In contrast to his earlier work (and as a result of a recent trip through national parks of the American Southwest including Zion and Monument Valley), these scored lines have taken on more curves and irregularities, evoking geological strata and erosion where the grid had prevailed in the past. This bent towards a more biomorphic, undulating line helps to underscore a consistent humanizing thread throughout the artist’s practice, and a particular relationship to the body. As usual, the relatively small paintings are all hung at the artist’s height of 5 feet 9 inches indicating that they function as an analogue for the artist’s head or face. As we move around the room in relation to them, their surfaces are in a constant dynamic flux that suggests movement, respiration, and expression. Importantly, as a viewer is reflected in their surface, the works also change dramatically as a result, instigating an ongoing choreography for the paintings, their audience and surroundings.