Makiko Kudo (b. 1978)
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Makiko Kudo (b. 1978)

Gray Town

Makiko Kudo (b. 1978)
Gray Town
oil on two adjoining canvas
each: 89 3/8 x 71¾in. (227 x 182cm.)
overall: 89 3/8 x 143 3/8in. (227 x 364cm.)
Painted in 2011
Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012.
Tokyo, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Makiko Kudo, 2011.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Body Language, 2013, pp. 56-57 (illustrated in colour).
London, Saatchi Gallery, Iconoclasts: Art Out of the Mainstream, 2017-2018, pp. 34-35 (illustrated in colour).
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Lot Essay

Japanese painter Makiko Kudo’s sumptuous, wistful works synthesise elements from her memory and daily life with imagined landscapes, creating visions of dreamlike beauty and masterful painterly poise. In Gray Town there is a sense of floating or weightlessness common to many of her compositions, which seem unmoored from the fixity of the real world. A forest of rich green, blue and brown foliage is dappled with bright white orbs; the sky is marbled with churning, Van Gogh-esque blues; a slender, cartoonish child in a blue outfit hovers in the air, open-mouthed in wonder. The work’s diversity of colour and freshness of texture is typical of Kudo’s work. Barry Schwabsky enthuses that ‘in Kudo’s painting there is a lot to know, a lot to wonder at. The multiplicity of variations in the innumerable touches by which she applies her colours is only one aspect of this. Terry R. Myers has rightly spoken of “a level of painterly complexity and “touch” not typically seen in Japanese painting of the last decade” in Kudo’s work, but what I want to emphasize is how this complexity of facture represents a twofold sensitivity, both to the surface of the painting as an entity that is not to be thought of as “flat” but on the contrary as dense, richly nuanced, and multivalent, and to the sensations and impulses that play across it. It is in the orchestration of this multiplicity that Kudo’s recent paintings attain a kind of classical grandeur’.

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