San Francisco

Masami Teraoka

Iannetti Lanzone Gallery

Masami Teraoka is known for making funny, dextrous paintings on themes of bicultural imbalance. Done mostly with watercolors in a style evoking ukiyo-e woodblock prints, his burlesques work like certain New Yorker cartoons or the visual puzzles with captions that read, “What’s wrong with this picture?” One might leave them at that, except for their ever more complicated esthetic, narrative, and moral fascinations, which recall the equally puzzling, oriental side of Pieter Brueghel. Even as quick hits, they’re not trivial.

Ukiyo-e prints are small and square, their colors having been applied with water-based pigments mixed with rice paste. Teraoka’s paintings tend toward bigness; the biggest are on canvas, the medium-sized ones on paper. None are square, and all are made alla prima, with few corrections showing. The earlier works comment mostly on discrepancies between ancient and modern;

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