The painter Naoki Tomita uses thick layers of oil paint to depict suburban scenes of Japan: the facades of stores, high-rise buildings or a parking lot, devoid of anything but vending machines. For an upcoming solo exhibition, Tomita has focused on Tokyo as his prime subject, ahead of 2020.
Tomita was born in Ibaraki, a prefecture neighboring Tokyo. And so the gravitational pull of Tokyo had always been strong. After finishing art school in Kyoto, Tomita headed to Tokyo to complete his MFA.
His paintings are notably devoid of any people, but oddly enough there is no negativity or despair associated. Rather, the paintings feel like they’re brimming with excitement and hope as the vibrant city moves closer and closer to 2020: what the refers to as a landmark year for Tokyo.
Tomita will be showing new works at Maho Kubota Gallery in Tokyo from Oct 18 – Nov 22, 2019. This exhibition, simply titled Tokyo, will also include several landscape paintings similarly rendered with meticulous care using thick slabs of oil paint. Other scenes depicted will include iconic images that all people living in Tokyo share and remember as a collective memory of a rapidly changing city—Ikebukuro, Roppongi, Meijijingu Gaien, Akihabara, Shibuya, Kabukicho in Shinjuku, and Nakameguro.