Masakatsu Sashie is well known for his intricately painted orbs - a mix of manmade objects suspended over modern landscapes juxtaposed with technology and touches of industrialized civilization. Based on a concept Sashie terms the “balanced aquarium,” the spheres exist within a perfectly self-contained world, a limited space within which the circle of life exists. The result is a collapse of temporal space that embodies globalism and a universal sense of being - both physically and philosophically.
Kaleidoscope explores the phenomenon of artificial creation and man-made environments. Since the early Stone Age, humans have crafted tools from their available natural resources, however Sashie reflects on the intense amount of artificial creation within the modern era. In essence, all of these advancements are no more than inventions made through harnessing a natural resource or phenomenon that already exist in our world. This continuing cycle of dynamic transformations is like the colorful refractions found looking through the lens of a kaleidoscope.
“Nothing is made by humans completely from scratch. We are constantly searching through our limited resources to create, form and constitute what’s necessary for us to advance as a human race. And as time changes through our history, the structure of our human needs change and reshape itself constantly. The fragments of artificial landscapes continue to reshape and rearrange themselves in order to create brand-new landscapes within our limited world. The never ending process of creation and destruction is just another part of natural phenomenon that we faced from the past to present day.” – Masakatsu Sashie
With a lifelong interest in model making and having grown up in a virtual diorama Sashie’s intricately detailed oil paintings depict a world where the common objects of modern industrialization take on often-despotic forms. These haunting vistas are often dominated by an orb, a substantial figure, made of an amalgam of the remnants of human existence.
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Vonn Sumner’s paintings present figures, often costumed or adorned, against a stark background — like a stage play frozen in time at decisive moments. Expressed through a muted palette and theatrical sense of space, Sumner creates an atmosphere of stillness and mystery. The subjects seem to perform strange rituals or gestures, but the precise meaning remains elusive.
Through this playful ambiguity, Sumner’s cast of characters draws us into their cryptic narratives, as seen in the cabal series of wall portraits. Defined as a group of people united in some close design together, a cabal promotes their private views or interests, often through intrigue and in secret. This plays into the idea of secret societies, although Sumner’s series of portraits are more humorously enigmatic than sinister. Rendered in a bust-like format, the cabal series is reminiscent of portraits that would line the hallway or staircase of a family home, carefully balancing a sense of familiarity while arousing curiosity.
This series of portraits is also complemented by Sumner’s graphite drawings showcasing the meticulous and dimensional rendering of Sumner’s forms. Much his paintings with solid backgrounds and a single subject, the chosen negative space within the drawings highlights the elements of line and form.
Whether humorous or haunting, large or small, Sumner’s paintings ask questions without providing answers. After setting the stage and providing the cast, Sumner invites the viewers to narrate their own imagination.