Osamu Kobayashi: 62 Miles Above Sea Level
Osamu Kobayashi’s abstract paintings, on view at the Greenwich House Music School, could be the rogue grandchildren of Al Held’s 1960s hard-edged alphabet paintings. The titles suggest an immense natural space (“A Meadow At Night,” “Offshore,” “Waterfall Congregation”), but the colors are mechanical: Permanent Green, deep Ultra Marine, and Chrome Yellow. Sweeping brush strokes intimate a colossal force of time, like the rings in a tree trunk, or the energy packed into a single ocean wave. However, it’s not all thunder and lighting on the mountain. The paintings display a keen sensitivity to the human tragic-comedy in the form of smudges, tiny x shapes, and drippy single lines. There is a painterly humor here akin to a Barnett Newman zip seen for the first time. Kobayashi takes an experimental approach to creating space in two-dimensions; he knows that what is visible is just as important as what lies beyond the reach of the canvas. NORA GRIFFIN
Kobayashi is a 2013 recipient of the Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work is included in an exhibition of newly inducted members and award winners at the American Academy, 633 West 155 Street, on view through June 9.
62 Miles Above Sea Level is on view until June 10.
Osamu Kobayashi, Waterfall Congregation, 2011-2013, oil on linen, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist and AplusB Contemporary Art.