Los Angeles

Masami Teraoka

Samuel Freeman

“Where to begin?” was the first question prompted by this dense selection of paintings produced between 1997 and 2007 by the Japanborn, Hawaii-based Masami Teraoka—his first Los Angeles gallery presentation in twenty years. The next question was something along the lines of, “Do I even want to take this on?” given that Teraoka was essentially bombarding the viewer with variations on a prevailing theme: The world is heading to hell on a jet. Aircraft did in fact turn up, and were a clear reference to the September 11 attacks, in Teraoka’s 2004 painting Semana Santa/Cloisters Workout; it quickly became apparent that in this exhibition, with its imagery of computers, cell phones, fitness clubs, burkas, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, and pervert priests, Teraoka meant to speak of the “now.” But as with the artist’s past work, in which he used Japanese Edo-period imagery and aesthetics to

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