Kenichi Hoshine's puzzles, memories, and layers

I found this nice interview in Juxtapoz with artist Kenichi Hoshine and I really love his work. I’ve always been fascinated by painting that toes the line between representation and abstraction, and his work feels especially interesting in this way. Abstraction opens up all kinds of expressive possibilities unique to the medium of painting but, sometimes, when you abandon the constraints of concrete life you also lose the ability to speak to an audience in terms they recognize; to tell stories; to give people a way in. The baby and the bathwater can be hard to tell apart here.

Hoshine’s way of dancing across that line of recognizability strikes me as eloquent and unique. His work is quite abstract but it never feels completely solipsistic. There are still stories in there, swirling around in the layers, collections of things buried in glazes and washes. Some paintings feel like puzzles that only he may know the answer to, but the individual pieces feel uncannily familiar.

The feeling I get from some of his work reminds me a bit of going through my grandparents’ closets: there are all these scattered artifacts of a life (and an experience) I didn’t really know, which is both familiar and alien. Here’s a sweater I saw my grandfather wear. But there’s an ashtray from a bar I know nothing about - when was he in Copenhagen? And then there are random bits I can’t identify at all - is this a can of old shoe polish or some kind of awful medication?

But it all adds up to a meaningful portrait, nonetheless.