Born in 1967 in Okinawa, Japan and currently based in Los Angeles, California, Kaz Oshiro received both his BA and MFA from California State University in 1998 and 2002, respectively. Oshiro references artistic movements including pop art, minimalism, and abstract expressionism, investigating the true nature of art through the lens of various dichotomies such as sculpture/painting, abstraction/figuration, and reality/illusion.
Oshiro’s most representative works of cabinets, suitcases, amps, and so forth, are reproduced with exacting detail that at first glance, they do not appear to be works of art. However, once the viewer realizes they are painted on canvas, their perspective is altered. Seeing the canvas stretched over a wooden frame acts as proof that it is indeed an artwork. Moreover, the signs of wear and tear and the stains and scratches that further emphasize the “reality” of the work can be considered classical trompe l’oeil. However, by focusing in on these details, they begin to take on the appearance of the brilliantly calculated, abstract expressionist gestures of a Pollock or de Kooning.
Still Life—a series of works on canvas typically painted in a single hue—also wavers between sculpture and painting as the canvas is warped and wrinkled. In this way, Oshiro’s works oscillate between dichotomies, oftentimes inviting confusion in the viewer. However, they also offer an opportunity to re-evaluate the existence of, and definitions surrounding, a work of art.
Oshiro’s recent solo exhibitions include 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 exhibition, Chasing Ghosts, was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA, Los Angeles). His work has 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, Oshiro 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 group show which was held at Bunkamura: The Museum (Tokyo), Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art (Hyogo), and Nagoya City Art Museum (Aichi). Oshiro’s work is in many notable public and private collections, including 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).