ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY presents “Dennis Mukai: Abrasive Affirmations”
“The method of creating my paintings is subtractive, explained Mukai. “The surface layer of dark paint is removed with sandpaper to reveal varying degrees of the white gesso surface underneath as opposed to the more traditional method of applying paint to a gessoed surface. The technique is slow and precise. The process of minutely abrading and distressing the two-dimensional surface to ‘sculpt’ the images becomes an obsessive meditation. In this new series my paintings are an exploration of double entendres. The juxtaposition and ambiguity of my word play is intended to bring relief to the dark, evocative visuals. The humor is personal, intentional…and at times, abrasive.”
See image: Dennis Mukai, Poule Mouilée, 2016, Acrylic and oil on masonite, 30 x 60 inches
Dennis Mukai was born in Hiroshima, Japan and raised in Southern California. He is most widely recognized for his published portraits of beautiful women. His subjects have included Pamela Anderson, Tia Carrere, Jennifer Flavin, Janet Jones Gretsky, Paula Barbieri, Kimberley Hefner, Mimi Rogers and Linda Sobek. As a contributing artist, these paintings were featured monthly in Playboy magazine throughout the 80’s and 90’s. His numerous one-man shows throughout the United States consistently sold out his original paintings, limited edition prints and posters. A graduate of Art Center College of Design and technically trained as an illustrator and graphic designer, Mukai’s client list has included Levi’s, Volvo, Honda, Coca-Cola, Mattel, Disney, the March of Dimes and DirecTV. His works have garnered awards from the Society of Illustrators, the Creative Black Book, ADLA, Print, and Communication Arts.
Mukai crossed over into photography after his years of shooting the models for his paintings. Inspired by Edward Steichen, George Hurrell, and Albert Watson, artists in the past who have successfully made this transition, Mukai has been no exception in his ability to translate his vision into a different medium. In 1997, Mukai art directed and photographed the one-sheet for the Academy Award Winner for Best Live Action Short Film, Visas and Virtue. Focusing mainly on celebrity portraiture, his subjects have included Macy Grey, Ice T, Keanu Reeves, Kid Rock, Ziggy Marley, Robbie Robertson, T Bone Burnett and Duran Duran to name a few.
On view: February 18 – March 25, 2017
Where: THE ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY, Bergamot Station, (B-7) 2525 Michigan Ave.