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Kaz Oshiro

Kaz Oshiro, <em>Pink Marshall Stack Wall (Three Marshall Double Stacks)</em>, 2002, acrylic and Bondo on stretched canvas, 182.9 x 228.6 x 36.2 cm, Photo: JJ Stratford
Kaz Oshiro, Pink Marshall Stack Wall (Three Marshall Double Stacks), 2002, acrylic and Bondo on stretched canvas, 182.9 x 228.6 x 36.2 cm, Photo: JJ Stratford

Born in 1967 in Okinawa, Japan and currently based in Los Angeles, Kaz Oshiro received both his BA and MFA from California State University in 1998 and 2002, respectively. Oshiro’s work investigates the core essence of art through the lens of various dichotomies like sculpture/painting, abstraction/figuration, and reality/illusion, all while referencing such artistic movements as Pop Art, Minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism.
Oshiro’s signature steel beams, guitar amps, trash bins, and so forth are so impeccably made that at first glance, they do not appear to be works of art. Yet the viewer's perspective is upended once they realize the objects’ true nature as painted fabrications, as if the sight of canvas stretched over a wooden frame is proof of their legitimacy as artworks. The artist further enhances the verisimilitude of his works by adding elements of wear and tear, displaying a meticulous attention to detail in the vein of Hyperrealism. At the same time, these stains and scratches are products of his imagination and stand on their own as carefully calculated abstract compositions.
Oshiro pursues this idea in an even more understated, subtractive manner in his California Calligraphy series—sleek rectangular canvases that attempt to translate the streaks and scribbles left on dust-covered cars across Los Angeles into abstract compositions. The artist’s distinctive approach, which he describes as “passive abstract expression,” yields discrete yet captivating creations that strike a delicate balance between controlled craftsmanship and gestural mark-making.
Oshiro’s recent solo exhibitions include Nothing New Under the Sun, MAKI Gallery (Tokyo, 2023); Republic, MAKI Gallery (Tokyo, 2020); 96375, Nonaka-Hill, (Los Angeles, 2020); Steel Unforged, galerie frank elbaz (Paris, 2017); and A STANDARD, Honor Fraser Gallery (Los Angeles, 2017). In 2014, his solo show Chasing Ghosts was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA, Los Angeles). The artist’s work has also been shown in group exhibitions at various institutions, including The FLAG Art Foundation (New York, 2015), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, 2012), and the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, 2005). In 2022, he participated in the Aichi Triennale, one of the largest international contemporary art festivals in Japan, and in 2014, his work was included in Deception II: Into the Future, a traveling group show held at Bunkamura: The Museum (Tokyo), Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art (Hyogo), and Nagoya City Art Museum (Aichi). Oshiro’s work is part of many notable public and private collections, such as the Fonds national d’art contemporain (Paris), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA, Los Angeles), the Rubell Museum (Miami), and the Zabludowicz Collection (London).