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Hiroshi Sato
Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by DeWitt Cheng

Hiroshi Sato, "Frame Side," 2014, oil on canvas, 46 x 38"

Continuing through November 29, 2014

The fifteen oils on canvas by Hiroshi Sato comprising "Windows and Doors" depict domestic interiors in a contemporary realist style, i.e., illusionistic but not photographic. Patchwork grids of color applied with slightly differing brushstrokes, for example, depict off-white walls parallel to the picture plane. Sato’s subjects are young women, alone, engrossed with tasks, and illuminated by nearby windows. Similarly introspective paintings by Vermeer, Hopper and Wyeth spring to mind, but also the thematic ancestor represented in countless Renaissance paintings of the Virgin Mary, seated in a room, reading, with the light streaming through the window representing the Holy Spirit. While the stillness and interiority (both physical and psychological) look back to a more reflective time, small details — pop-up books, model airplanes and cars, and toy motorcycles, all childhood enthusiasms of the artist — add a contemporary counterpoint.

In “Corner,” a woman dressed for entertaining (short black dress, tulle sleeves) sits in a corner, entertaining herself with a pop-up book, surrounded by her reflections in a nearby window, TV screen and mirror. In “Window Side" we glimpse, through sliding windows, from outside, another woman who is reading in profile, her face reflected in a mirror. “Frame Side” presents a rear view of a woman seated at a table before a window, with the view outside ‘overexposed’ into patches of yellow and tan; an empty frame placed on a red chair leans against the wall. “Pop-up Book and Bowl,” “Brooker’s Table,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Chairs in a Corner” depict intensely observed objects of childhood fascination and fantasy set within domestic-interior stage sets, object-dramas without human viewer surrogates.

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