Shohei Morimoto is a Japanese artist who transfers spatial elements from his mind to the canvas through painting. His work seems tranquil through its cool colours, still perspectives and muted colour palettes. Thick brush strokes stream across and intermingle subtle tones of colours to depict a variety of scenes from landscapes to the surreal.
Speaking to It’s Nice That, Shohei explains the intention of his paintings which is not to create work that “only gives people a strong first impression and quickly fades away like cheap bubblegum”. At the same time, Shohei tries not to leave an impression that is “too personal and self-enclosed”. The compositions of the paintings are often vague, architectural interiors appear in the foreground contrasted against the rich backgrounds soaked in dense colours that depict the foggy mountains and fir tree forests of Japan. Other paintings are split into smaller components and draw out the similarities in texture and colour to create a uniform narrative across the canvas.
The artist continuously tries to capture an emotion “that never belongs to anywhere” in particular. His still paintings are objectively versatile in the way that they can express a number of different emotions depending on the viewer. The paintings can be interpreted as lonely or hopeful depending on the outlook of the viewer, achieved through Shohei’s skill as an artist. He creates this objective perspective in his work by entering a liminal space between emotions while he is painting, “I just listen to music and stare at trees blowing in a gentle breeze in the distance”, says Shohei.
It is the mundane things in life that can be interpreted invariably that interest Shohei; “the graffiti on the wall, a tree, the beautiful drifting of a rally car,” he pinpoints. Similarly, the artist’s key influences, such as Wolfgang Tillmans and Settai Komura also explore parallel themes in their work. For instance, appreciating the enormous efforts it takes for a weed to grow through the cracks of the pavement.
Shohei’s paintings encompass his Japanese heritage through understated and structural compositions, simultaneously embodying contemporary culture through underlying pastel colours and technique. He also successfully designs all the poster campaigns for his solo exhibitions which shows a fluent understanding of the formats of graphic design.
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