Large-scale canvasses create an arena for the characters of Claudia Kogachi’s narrative to play out various disputes. The works are bold and contrasting, with thick layers of acrylic colour contained within black defining lines. The figures appear flat, a style nostalgically reminiscent of a Microsoft Paint, and play out staged situational riffs within scene.
Skewed downward toward the viewer, Kogachi warps her perspective to invite us to hop up into frame and referee the character collision, and in doing so she breaks us free from the confines of the frame.
In her most recent solo exhibition, Mother and Daughter on Hiatus, Kogachi, fueled by a desire to find sense and humour in her turbulent relationship with her mother, imagined a series of competitive events, building situational scenes for she and her mother to resolve their ongoing disputes- wildly embellished while rooted in reality.
The delightful collection of large-scale work captures the rivalrous and friction-run relationship that one might have with their mother or father, respectively; in this case the artists own mother.
Kogachi recounts a story, “The other night my mother and I were talking about things that I do that she finds frustrating. I asked her for an example. She immediately responded with this, “There's a platter of lobster tails for dinner and everybody is eager to go and help themselves, Claudia happens to be the first one to the platter and she will pick the largest tail on the plate ... that’s you.”
Claudia continues, “When we argue, often I think the lack of any witness to our dispute is unfair. In hopes to validate who's in the wrong and who's in the right, a third person, an audience or a referee would suffice. This arena of sporting events categorises my disharmonic relationship with my mother into that of humour rather than stigma.”
Although Kogachi depicts scenes of dispute with her mother, they are not to be perceived as ‘women’s issues’ –or negatively domestic. She embraces, transforms and interprets her domestic issues through sport in a psychological rivalry, and less literal, that way catering to a wider audience, and including viewers who might otherwise not identify.
Sport, automatically respected and de-noting to qualities of strength, willpower, determination and masculinity categorises her domestic and relational issues with her mother into that of entertainment.
Kogachi’s portraits of mother and daughter have comically lumpy bodies, bumpy bottoms, prickly leg hairs, and are fully blue in hue. Disassociating themselves from the specific, while inviting anyone to identify, we find an underlying communion in the nature of human behavior. The attempt to avoid depicting a class or race makes the narrative easier to relate to on a global scale.
To see Kogachi’s characters frozen in motion, we are reminded of a classical frieze, excitedly anticipating a collision. These Frieze-like structures are portals for an audience to interpret their own friction-laden relationships. The open narratives around a single moment in time are snapshots of life throughout the ages. Similar to the figures in a Frieze, the blue skinned shapes are very similar looking. At first glance, the work seemingly captures the same characters in action, however, upon closer examination, identification of individual facial features could take place- a faux naive take on expressionism.
Born: 1995, Awaji-Shima, Japan
Lives: Auckland, New Zealand
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Hawaii; Honours of Fine Arts, Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland.
Awards: First in Course Award, Elam, University of Auckland (2014); 360 Auckland Abroad Exchange Travel Awards, University of Auckland (2016); Gordon Harris Art Supplies Prize, Elam, University of Auckland (2018)
Public Exhibitions: Under Pressure, The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii (2016); Spaces In Between, George Fraser Gallery, University of Auckland (2017); The Protagonist, Project Space, University of Auckland (2017); Contact: Foreign and Familiar, The Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii (2016), Hound Dog, Franklin Arts Centre, Auckland (2018), Dog Pit, Saatchi & Saatchi & Saatchi, Auckland (2018); Mother and Daughter on Hiatus, Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland (2018); You're not a Princess you know, Window Gallery, Auckland (2018); Mom, are we friends, Meanwhile Gallery, Wellington (2018); Like a Boss, NZ Steel Gallery, Auckland (2018), Two Sagittarius One Show, Satchi and Satchi and Satchi, Auckland (2018), Impressions National Art Award Exhibition, Mapua Community Hall, Nelson (2018)