The Japanese artist, Keiichi Tanaami’s has a show at Sikkema Jenkins&Co. It brings back vivid colors and dynamic characteristics of Pop art in the 60s. That period's iconography and consumerism is especially well-blended in his works. Tanaami’s work includes familiar subject matter, such as Mickey Mouse, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a Japanese flag, the Mona Lisa, Hollywood stars, and the Statue of Liberty. However, using these recognizable and symbolic objects or figures from the world, he creates an unrealistic, unusual but fascinating world in his works, which hold colorful illusions.
(CLOCK WORK MARILYN 9, 1972)
Tanaami creates his psychedelic Pop art by referring to fellow Pop artists’ works, and editing the Pop-culture of the 60s.Tanaami’s works reminds me of James Rosenquist’s pop art collages, Roy Lichtenshtein’s cartoons, and Andy Warhol’s consumerism works, Marilyn Diptych and Campbell’s Soup Cans, in particular. It feels like he combined all the characteristics from these masters, such as Lichtenshtein’s dot patterns or Warhol’s color combinations within each composition. His works can be seen as typical in that manner, but he achieved uniqueness in his works by adding vivid and provocative color combinations with radically asymmetrical compositions, and erotic content in which the level of sexual expression can sometimes even be disturbing and haunting.
(Girl in Mirror by Roy Lichtenshtein, 1964) (Marilyn by Andy Warhol, 1967 )
I thought the works on display at the gallery were new, and when I learned that they were made about forty years ago, I was quite surprised. Tanaami created dozens of drawings, prints, video animations, and collages influenced by his frequent trips to New York City since 1967. Through his color choices, subject matter, and compositions, his glaring ‘cartoon style’ works from the sixties are still fresh and hip enough to have believably been made in 2014.