Pippy Houldsworth is delighted to present new works by London-based artists Kounosuke Kawakami, Kentaro Kobuke, and Tom Leighton. Ostensibly at odds with each other - both technically and conceptually - these artists nonetheless succeed in an unlikely union. Each depicts subjects from our real world, whilst simultaneously remaining bound up with the world of the unknown. Utilising the realms of fantasy, abstraction and imagination, these artists convey a deeply realistic viewpoint, revealing something profound about our own situations.
Kentaro Kobuke's intricately but powerfully rendered colour-pencil works introduce such a theme. Looming from their wooden supports, his large eyed individuals demonstrate the influence of Japanese mythology which informs and influences all his work. Whilst unfamiliar creatures lurk in the background, his figures remain distinctly stylised - these are real individuals with real emotions; anger, excitement, jealousy and sadness.
Painting using oil, collage and industrial waste materials, Kawakami's works are concerned with the aftermath of industrialisation and its effect on nature and the landscape. Works such as Industry 3 draw on this materiality, incorporating detritus from the real world, whilst floating in an otherworldly environ. Surrounded by a sinister fog, and encroached upon by tactile growths that emerge from the surface, they present a vision of life that is sparse and peculiar - simultaneously familiar and alien.
At odds with Kobuke and Kawakami in terms of style and content, Tom Leighton's works nonetheless express a similar sentiment. His glossy images of digitally-altered and composite landscapes create an architectural language of urban sprawl. Captured from an aerial perspective, they possess a kaleidoscopic quality. The markers of the real world that they picture are transformed and distorted into fantastical scenes of abstract imagination.
Kentaro Kobuke gained his MA at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2009, and has recently shown at SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo; John Connelly Presents, New York, and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Last month, Kobuke's works were exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, London as part of Highlights from the Franks-Suss Collection.
Kounosuke Kawakami gained his MA at St Martin's College of Art in 2004. He was a prize winner of the VOCA Painting Prize, UENO Royal Museum, 2008 and was also part of Creekside I and II at APT, London, selected by Victoria Miro and Matthew Collins. Collections include the Progressive Collection, Ohio; the West Collection, Pennsylvania; UBS, New York; UBS Los Angeles,; Wellington Management, Boston and London; the Elspeth and Imogen Turner Collection, UK; and the Taguchi Collection, Tokyo.
Tom Leighton was awarded an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2006, and was a prize winner of the Man Photography Prize last year at the RCA. His work is in numerous important collections including the V&A Museum, London, the Kunsthalle Weishaupt Collection, Germany, Tiroche Collection UK/Israel, MuCEM, France, President of Christian Lacroix, Paris, The Sandor Family Collection, Chicago, and The UBS Art Collection, London to name a few. Tom Leighton is represented by Cynthia Corbett Gallery, London.