Kikunobu Ozaki
"Doll House"

December 30 - January 16, 2016

Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 1-7 PM
Sunday 1-5 PM

Opening: December 31, 2015, 5 - 7 p.m.

Paintings and Sculptures

Gallery onetwentyeight is pleased to announce an exhibition of “Doll” paintings, figurative sculptures, landscape paintings and pottery by Kikunobu Ozaki. This exhibition features studies and personal work that Mr. Ozaki created in his studio in Tokyo from the 1970s through 2012.

Mainly known for geometric abstract paintings, the work being shown here was created concurrently with his signature work and is being shown for the first time. It broadens our understanding of Mr. Ozaki’s talents and interests and opens a window into heretofore unknown deeply personal motivations behind much of his work.

Doll Paintings and Figurative Sculptures

Ozaki’s daughter recalls: “I received dolls for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts and on many other occasions. My father would later set them up in his studio and make paintings of them. I was often scared and felt uncomfortable entering his studio because so many dolls were staring at me. But his paintings of them never appeared particularly emotional or expressionist to me. Rather, they seemed to express a kind of innocence and playfulness.”

Just prior to a mental breakdown two years ago, he brought up the subject of his first marriage to Ms. Ozaki. In one of their last substantial conversations, he relayed the tragic story of losing both parents while a teenager during World War II. Finally shaking off the effects of the hardships of his youth, he met a fellow art student there, got married and had a daughter. One day, after coming home from work he found his infant child dead, apparently at the hand of his wife who had experienced a psychotic episode. His wife promptly ended up in a mental institution, never to be seen again.

Last year, Ms. Ozaki had the chance to reevaluate the work that she was packing up for storage. Looking through the “Doll” paintings she had been familiar with her entire life, she found a sculpture (that she had never seen before) of a young adult female with a uterus inside and with a piece of a baby figure attached. This reminded her of the story her father had told her the year before, and she started wondering whether the paintings portraying what she thought were relatively mundane images might be fraught with much deeper personal meanings.

Landscape Paintings

Many of Ozaki’s extended family members possess stately, realistic landscapes painted with a classical touch. Exhibited here, however, are several exceptional works displaying a command of expressionistic brushstrokes. Their existence reinforces the notion that the decision to publicly show only more detached abstract work was well-considered.


In 1976 Ozaki built a kiln on his families property in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. He became enamored of ceramics, created studies imitative of ancient Japanese art with he felt an affinity with, and created decorative works. He also published a statement relating traditional craft with contemporary painting based on his personal experience. On display are a few representative samples, including 2 delightful ceramic whistles.

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Kikunobu Ozaki was born in 1929 in Manchuria, China to Japanese parents working abroad. He studied fine art at Musashino University in Tokyo, and his work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in Japan, China, Europe and United States.

128 Rivington St.
(bet. Essex & Norfolk)
NYC, NY 10002
212 674 0244

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