Not long after Mr. Kiji removed his paintings from the walls of NYC’s Mallick Williams Gallery in April last year, he was struck by a car while riding his bike around his Brooklyn neighborhood. The hit rendered Mr. Kiji with a hand lacking feeling and he was unable to draw for several months. The industrious young illustrator, painter and sought-after graphic artist didn’t let this stop him, and a new solo show at Portland’s Compound Gallery demonstrates his tenacity for keeping up his craft.
While the aforementioned works at Mallick Williams combine his creative talents for a study on the “current and past events both public and personal in the context of traditional Ukioy-e woodblock-based style also commonly known as ‘Floating World’ prints,” the exhibition at Compound Gallery showcases “a new visual style” for the artist. Limited to the computer as his sole creative outlet when he couldn’t manually draw, Mr. Kiji used this opportunity to “explore the unexpected art that exists between the daily grind of commercial illustration and personal expression.” Titled “Annoyed Grunt,” at first glance the colorful prints run adjacent to the sentiment inspiring the work. Further inspection reveals collages that speak to the banality of life, which is arguably a remark on his restrained artistic expression.
“Annoyed Grunt” opens tonight at Portland’s Compound Gallery and runs through 27 October 2012.