By Gordon Durich
June 25, 2022 | 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
June 25 – July 30, 2022
COREY HELFORD GALLERY
571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033
Open: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Visiting Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The next major solo show from Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda, entitled “Fight to Live in the Void,” will be opening at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) on Saturday, June 25 from 7 to 10pm and on view through July 30.
Hikari Shimoda will be in attendance for the debut of Fight to Live in the Void on Saturday, June 25 from 7 pm to 10 pm in the Main Gallery, opening alongside “All Creatures Great and Small,” a five-artist exhibition featuring Ewa Prończuk-Kuziak, Dewi Plass, Matt Dangler, Phillip Singer, and Richard Ahnert in Gallery 2 and a solo show from Ryoko Kaneta, entitled “In Our Nature,” in Gallery 3.
Inspired by her own unique take on Japanese manga, Shimoda arrived onto the international scene in 2014 with her U.S. exhibition Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man at CHG, introducing her very popular ongoing series, “Children of This Planet” and “Whereabouts of God.” Since then, Shimoda has become one of the most widely recognized names in New Contemporary art rising out of Japan.
Shimoda was born in Nagano, Japan in 1984, and started her career in 2008 as a contemporary artist. Influences and inspirations derive from anime and manga, which, she told me, are products of the human imagination. “I guess I could describe my art as ‘imagination of the human imagination,’ in particular I am strongly influenced by Hayao Miyazaki and how his stories express love and despair for the world. My all-time favorite (stories) is ‘Nausicaa of the Valley, of the Wind’. I love it for its depiction of the essence of human beings such as human foolishness, ego, contradiction, justice and love.’
Shimoda is often asked why she paints children, she told me. “As children grow up into adults, they become more judgmental and are judged more. I feel judged by society for my life choices. I am an unmarried and independent woman in Japan, which goes against traditional Japanese culture. The theme of my work mirrors my feelings of anxiety and loneliness. This is something I have felt since childhood, so all in all this image of children has a double meaning for me.”
Sparkling and sweet, Shimoda’s work is at once enchanting and disarming, portraying a world where cuteness and horror co-exist. Based in Nagano, Shimoda studied illustration at the prestigious Kyota Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before beginning her career as a professional contemporary artist. Then she was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo, and has since held exhibitions in galleries worldwide including in the United States, Canada and Europe. Often depicting starry-eyed children, she dresses her children in heroic costumes resembling Superman and magical girls, anime sub-genre of young girls who use magic, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society through a juxtaposition of brush work, text, and collage. Such characters are a commentary on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a savior of humanity, and a mirror of our fantasy heroes.”
She said, ”Children who are wearing a vacant expression of despair and solitude are mirroring the emotions of the people who look at them. Those vacant (faced) children are so-to-speak cups of my emotions, something which I could pour my emotion into. Their sparkling eyes are staring into space, while reflecting light and darkness, and those horns are a metaphor of worldless emotions, such as fury and despair, that people feel towards unreasonable things in this world.”
With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.
About Hikari Shimoda
Inspired by the Japanese manga and anime from her youth, Shimoda’s work expresses modern day issues in colorful and illustrative techniques. Often depicting starry-eyed children, she dresses her characters in heroic costumes resembling Superman and magical girls, an anime sub-genre of young girls who uses magic, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society through a juxtaposition of brushwork, text, and collage. Such characters are a commentary on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a savior of humanity, and a mirror of our fantasy heroes. They also represent our adult desire to nurture the children of the world and to defend the world we have constructed.
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and accident of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, Shimoda became increasingly interested in various connections in the world. In her portrait series “Whereabouts of God”, featuring other-worldly children adorned with a Chernobyl necklace, and “Children of This Planet”, children act as a blank canvas for what she describes as countless possibilities; where fantasy meets with reality, past meets future, life meets death, and a world that is yet to be reborn. Not only do eyes communicate each character’s personality, they are also a reflection of Shimoda’s own feelings and ideas:
“They are “anyone” who just exists. So, they could also exist beyond the realm of being children, and identify with anyone who might appreciate them. Those children who are wearing a vacant expression of despair and solitude are mirroring the emotions of the people who look at them. Those vacant children are, so to speak, “cups of my emotions”- something which I could pour my emotion into. Their sparkling eyes are staring into space, while reflecting both light and darkness, and those horns are a metaphor of wordless emotions like fury and despair that people feel towards unreasonable things in this world.” With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.
About Corey Helford Gallery:
Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer/creator Bruce Helford (The Conners, Anger Management, The Drew Carey Show, and George Lopez), Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goal as an institution is supporting the growth of artists, from the young and emerging, to the well-known and internationally established. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti, and Street Art. Located in downtown Los Angeles at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033, in a robust 12,000 square foot building, CHG presents new exhibitions approximately every six weeks. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, with visiting hours being Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit CoreyHelfordGallery.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. For available prints from CHG, visit CHGPrints.com.