Absorbed in plumbing the recesses of their minds, Milt Kobayashi’s figures seem aloof while floating in their unfamiliar spaces.
The Meyer Gallery will host a brief but compelling exhibition of Milt Kobayashi’s recent work. Kobayashi, a third-generation Japanese-American, finds influence in the art of Whistler, Chase, and Sargent, as well as 16th- and 17th-century Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock print masters Hokusai, Sharaku, and Utamaro. Kobayashi’s art is enigmatic, fresh, original, and unusual — elements sure to captivate audiences.

Milt Kobayashi, “Morning,” oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in. Meyer Gallery.

Milt Kobayashi, “Birds,” oil on canvas, 26 x 26 in. Meyer Gallery.

Similarly to Gustav Klimt, another artist influenced by Japanese art, Kobayashi juxtaposes the naturalistic physiognomy and accuracy of his subjects with abstract planes and geometric forms of color and pattern. The result plays with and confuses our perceptions of form, two-dimensionality, three-dimensionality, and space.

Milt Kobayashi, “Friends,” oil on canvas, 24 x 26 in. Meyer Gallery.

Kobayashi adds another dimension to his work through the poses, gestures, and expressions of his figures. “Her Yellow Dress” is a characteristic example, showing a reclining figure with an intense demeanor, her attention directed outside the frame. Her dress fans across the entire canvas, but displays little shading, flattening into a large plane of color. Her hands, completely detached from her form, leap from the surface while the patterned pillows flatten again. The experience can be dizzying, but is undeniably fun and visually interesting.
Milt Kobayashi’s work will be on view at the Meyer gallery from July 24 through July 31.
To learn more, visit Meyer Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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