San Francisco

Sono Osato

Brian Gross Fine Art

As much objects as images, Sono Osato’s thickly impastoed canvases have the physical presence of sculpture. In this small, elegantly composed six-painting installation titled “The Sound of Ku,” careful consideration was given to the position of each work and its relationship to the others. From a distance, the viewer’s impression of the larger canvases is of austere, monochromatic monoliths: serious-looking Minimalist slabs of paint that lean against or, in places, out from the wall on wires. Even the smaller pieces have a weighty presence, in part a result of the buildup of paint, wax, and sometimes asphalt on each support.

As is often the case, however, first impressions are misleading. Up close, the surfaces of Osato’s paintings are rich with a wickedly heretical shimmer of light and color. In Sho, 1997, traces of cerulean blue underpainting show through thickly applied layers of olive

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