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Jacob Hashimoto: The First Known Map of the Moon

Mary Boone Gallery - New York

By Kim Power

Jacob Hashimoto found his niche early on in his artistic career. Hashimoto got his first big break with his massive solo installation Infinite Expanse of Sky (10,000 Kites) (1998), at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Illinois, just two years after his graduation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1996). Since then, he has racked up an impressive number of exhibits in the United States and around the world in Italy, France and Finland with solo shows at MoCA/PDC - Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California (2014), Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada (2010), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Rome, Italy (2010), and Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington (2004).

Often referencing but not limited to the natural world, Hashimoto’s subjects have abstractly alluded to trees, earth, sky and outer space. In this fifth solo exhibit at Mary Boone Gallery in New York City, Hashimoto uses his signature sculptural installation technique to portray an interpretation of a cosmic cartography. Through the multiplication of a lexicon of macro imagery, sampling from favorite artists and media (a practice not unheard of in contemporary art practice), Hashimoto creates a tapestry of pixelated color and pattern.

Jacob Hashimoto, The Augmented Cube and the Unexpected Jaggedness of Ideal Order, 2016, UV ink print, paper, resin/Kevlar, wood, 120” x 84” x 84.” Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery.

Jacob Hashimoto, The Augmented Cube and the Unexpected Jaggedness of Ideal Order, 2016, UV ink print, paper, resin/Kevlar, wood, 120” x 84” x 84.” Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery.

In the main salon, curtains of circles of varying diameter are strung together in curtains that conceal and reveal each other creating a complex grid of hard edge abstraction. Arranged in the confined, slightly rectangular format, they redefine the rules of ‘painting’ through the vehicle of sculptural relief. Designed after a ‘kite’ structure, collaged washi paper stretches across bamboo circles kept taut by a reinforcing cross on the back of each one, tied with perfect lashings and knots that speak to Hashimoto’s skilled attention to craftsmanship. The work hours implied by this obsessive multiplicity of shapes is mind boggling to say the least. Luckily, Hashimoto has a team of assistants that helps him assemble his stock, which explains his level of production and ability to have four solo exhibits this year alone.

Hashimoto is known for his colossal experiential installations that transform expansive spaces into organic wonderlands of light and color. At Mary Boone, a scaled down version of this model, The Augmented Cube and the Unexpected Jaggedness of Ideal Order (2016), inhabits a more intimate side room. Here, Hashimoto has broken out of the rigid formality of his wall ‘paintings’ and expanded them into a three-dimensional supernova. While the more docile wall hanging arrangements in the main salon are attractive and no doubt more marketable, due to their reduced demand on spatial real estate, Hashimoto’s mobile-like installation conveys a more dynamic energy.

Seemingly slowed down by an invisible centripetal energy field, square and circular ‘kites’ are hung at varying heights, arranged perpendicularly and parallel with each other in batches of like kind (black, white, boldly colored targets and abstract designs) printed and sealed with resin, appearing frozen in medias res. A waterfall of yellow squares creates the central core, almost grazing the marble floor below. Hashimoto’s method of modular mitosis is pregnant with the expectation of kinetic movement and sound, possessing the potential to propagate exponentially.

(September 8 - October 29, 2016)

Kim Power is an artist and writer currently residing in The Bronx. She holds a B.S. in Art Education from James Madison University and a Master in Fine Arts in painting from the New York Academy of Art. Her reviews have been published both online and in print through The Brooklyn Rail, Arte Fuse, and Quantum Art Review.

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