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Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008


"Kazuharu Ishikawa: Dear friends"

Yukari Art Contemporary

Much like his work, Kazuharu Ishikawa is hard to forget. A human exclamation point, the Tama Art University graduate sports a shaved head with a single spike of hair extending 30 cm straight up in celebration of the line.

A single line — either as part of a greater whole or standing alone — can express almost anything in a piece of art. Starting from simple drawings that he does in sketch books, the 31-year-old Ishikawa re-creates selected images with thread that he glues onto canvases, walls or plexiglass.

This means that the young artist, who is currently showing at Yukari Art Contemporary gallery (www.yukariart-contemporary.com) near Gakugeidaigaku Station, isn't quite a painter even if he presents his art on similar surfaces; rather the use of string accentuates the power of simple figurative images that may have been lost in the sea of new paintings — the thread forces you to reconsider the materials of his works as you appreciate their compositions. And in his newest works at Yukari, Ishikawa's literally added another dimension by working on plexiglass so that the outlines cast shadows onto the walls behind them.

Depending on the color of the fabric and the wall, either the shadow or the outline has greater presence. It would be great to see what would happen if he took the next step and stacked layers of plexiglass with different figures on them together.

"Kazuharu Ishikawa: Dear Friends" is the second exhibition at the newly opened Yukari Art Contemporary, which is run by Yukari Mitsuma, formerly of Gallery Es in Omotesando. It's a nice space with two rooms that show off the plexiglass works to good effect. Ishikawa won a prize at Takashi Murakami's Geisai #9 art fair, but his works are still reasonably priced, making both the new space and the art there worth a good look. Get there before there's a line (ouch). (Donald Eubank)

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