Art review: Matsumi Kanemitsu at Sabina Lee
This exhibition of intimate works — both in scale and subject matter — by Abstract Expressionist painter and printmaker Matsumi Kanemitsu is resolutely a product of its time. Most of the works on view at Sabina Lee Gallery date from the '60s and early '70s, and dwell on Kanemitsu’s preoccupation with the female form. The confluence of macho gestural abstraction and breasts and buttocks results in what seems now a tiresome cliché of heterosexual mastery. However, Kanemitsu, who died in 1992, sometimes leavened this script with playful Pop references, suggesting that he never took himself too seriously.
His delicate line drawings of nudes seem to prefigure the woodcut-like paintings of Masami Teraoka, but are bluntly interrupted by impertinent postage stamps strategically collaged between the women’s legs. It seems like a casual marking — signed, sealed, delivered, perhaps — but it’s also a device that brings viewers back to the picture plane and denies further access to the reverie.
–- Sharon Mizota
Sabina Lee Gallery, 971 Chung King Road, L.A., (213) 620-9404, through Dec. 18. Closed Sunday through Tuesday. www.sabinaleegallery.com
Images: "Nude" (San Francisco), 1968 (top), and "Self Portrait." Courtesy of Sabina Lee Gallery.