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Shiori Tono: あって ない / Atte nai
Jun 25, 2022 at 11:30 am - Jul 27, 2022 at 7:00 pm
MAKI Gallery is pleased to present あって ない / Atte nai, Shiori Tono’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. To mark the reopening of the newly renovated gallery space in Omotesando, Tokyo, 15 new paintings by Tono will be presented.
Tono centers her artistic practice around the many facets of memory—the fragility, the elusiveness, the joys, and the sorrows—by unraveling and reassembling strands of her own recollections. Sourcing from childhood photographs, old footage from home videos, or pulling straight from her own mind, Tono paints specific moments from her past that hold personal significance.
Last year, Tono found herself moving back to her hometown in Oita Prefecture where she was born and raised. After 8 years away from home, the artist discovered that many of the places she once used to frequent, disappeared. The familiar landscape she called home had changed, prompting her to acknowledge the passage of time and reflect on the nature of memory on a deeper scale.
Look at me and split second depict a merry-go-round—a recurring motif in Tono’s work derived from a fond childhood memory of visiting the local amusement park with her family. The artist longingly recalls the slowly rotating platform, the glittering decorations, and the peeling paint in areas where countless hands and fingers have touched. In both paintings, Tono seeks to resurrect her memories and the accompanying emotions experienced by her childhood self; imagining herself in a fairytale and feeling thoroughly absorbed in the romanticism of it all. In Garden that was there, the artist recreates her grandparents’ garden, a place where she spent much of her time as a child. Her family has since moved into this house, where Tono currently resides. The garden reduced in size over the years, leaving the artist to cling to the memories of the garden that once was.
For each painting, Tono begins her process by adhering strips of masking tape onto canvas in a grid-like formation, exposing every other square for the artist to fill. The artist then masks the completed areas in tape—restricting any opportunities to refer back—and proceeds to fill the remaining blocks. Finally, the tape is slowly removed, allowing any paint to peel away naturally. The gaps created by painting adjacent squares at different stages and peeling away pieces of the composition mirrors the very nature of memory: the fragmentation, the disconnection, and the inevitable deterioration.
Memories never appear as a clear image; the image is abstracted and distorted, never whole or complete. It is, as the exhibition title suggests, there and isn’t there. In each painting featured in this exhibition, Tono selects dearly held memories of ephemeral scenes, such as her grandparents’ garden or bouquets of flowers in a store waiting to be chosen. With her distinctive creative process, the artist visualizes how memories may look to us in our minds: segmented and slowly fading, but nonetheless there. We invite you to get lost in Tono’s captivating paintings, brimming with memories from the past.