ITOMARISM : Kaleidoscope

Mari Ito SOLO SHOW: ITOMARISM Kaleidoscope Oct. 18 –Dec. 1, 2018

Opening Reception Thurs. Oct. 18, 2018. The artist is present.

For press inquiries or general information: or call at 631-903-5564.

Mari Ito. Untitled, 2018. Natural pigments on Japanese rice paper. 39×39 inches/100x100CM

September 28, 2018 (New York, NY) – JanKossen Contemporary is proud to present ITOMARISM:Kaleidoscope, the premiere solo show in the United States by Japanese contemporary artist Mari Ito. The exhibition will be held in New York from Oct. 18th to Dec. 1st 2018. The artist shall be present at the opening reception on Thursday, 18th Oct. between 6 – 8 pm.

Mari Ito (Tokyo, 1980, lives in Barcelona SPAIN), studied traditional Japanese painting at Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo. Mari Ito’s oeuvre is based and influenced by the philosophical approaches found in Animism, Anthropocene and Animalism.

Animism finds its expression in long standing Japanese techniques where all objects, places and creatures are seen to have a spiritual existence, and are hence animated and alive. Ito’s work shows us her world that is post-human existence: when we are no longer an influential force on the environment. Her organic, alien plants affected by a nuclear disaster thrive and grow, despite humanity’s absence (or because of it).

Ito’s new work is a continuation her series entitled “The origin of Desire”, where the artist invites us to reflect on the origins of our needs; that is our most irrational and personal impulses. The Id or “das Es” (as Sigmund Freud would say) split off from the ego and the superego is the psychic – therefore the purest and most primitive expression of our drives and aspirations. The essence of what makes us “alive”.

Completely opposed forces that actually complement and react to one another are interpreted by Ito in the same way, for they have the same value and form a duality that exists in natural harmony. The Romantics pioneered the concept of the sublime, of humanity needing to succumb to the awesome force of nature, normally shown with a small figure or a person with their back turned towards the viewer, engulfed by their environment. Ito has completely excluded the figure, leaving only a representation of our base desires through personified flora.

Ito’s delicately formed creations come to life as they unfold into themselves, permanently striving to make their way towards awareness in their on-going search for the root of desire;

whatever its nature.

Mari Ito. Untitled, 2018. Natural pigments on Japanese rice paper. 38x51inches/97x130cm

About JanKossen Contemporary

JanKossen Contemporary, founded in 2009, is an international contemporary art gallery representing artists working across multiple disciplines. Its principal focus is working with artists from various countries whose diverse practices include painting, drawing, sculpture, and large scale installation. The gallery has exhibitions in New York and administration HQ in Basel, Switzerland.


Monochrome, a curated group exhibition showcasing selected artists from JanKossen Contemporary’s international program, will be on view from May 31 – July 14, 2018 with an opening reception from 6-8pm on May 31, 2018. The exhibition will feature artworks by Troy Simmons (USA), Dieter Kränzlein (Germany), Antonio Marra (Italy), Park Byung-Hoon (South Korean/France), Alex Rane (USA/Italy), Hannah Quinlivan (Australia), and Ye Jin-Young (South Korea) which explore the concept of monochromatic abstract art. An online catalogue will accompany the exhibition.TroySimmons_Evolve_2016_JanKossen

Troy Simmons. Evolve, 2016. Concrete, aluminum, acrylic. 60x36x18 inchesMonochromatic art has expanded since its inception in the early 20th century painting. The exploration of value and tonal changes are used to convey a wide variety of emotions and meaning today. Beginning in Moscow with Russian Suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich with his Black Square on a White Field (1915), monochromatic art works have seen a rapid growth, particularly in New York with the likes of abstract expressionists such as Ad Reinhardt in the 50s, to minimalism with artists such as Agnes Martin and Frank Stella in the 60s. Monochrome continues this tradition and pushes the boundaries of not only the physical materials used, but the range of emotions that they are able to express.

HannahQuinlivan_It started with a spark, 2017. 35x46x7in_88x116x18cm. LED light and anodised aluminium.

Hannah Quinlivan. It Started with a Spark, 2017. LED light and anodized aluminum. 60x36x18 inches

The abstraction of form, however, does not equal a simplification of thought. By removing the chromatic range of an object, the artist encourages the viewer to fully absorb the subtle nuances in surface texture and shade, as seen in Troy Simmons’ mixed media works, as well as Alex Rane and Dieter Kränzlein’s marble sculptures. Even comparing two monochromatic abstracted sculptures, the viewer is presented with two radically different works, from the geometric abstractions of Kränzlein to the surreal abstracted figures of Alex Rane. Without the distraction of colors, viewers are also able to see the subtle surface quality as well as the artists’ application and control of materials. Although nostalgic of Frank Stella’s vibrantly colored geometric works, Antonio Marra further enhances the experience of abstraction by injecting a shock of unexpected color in an otherwise monochromatic piece.

Black and white are not true colors, but shades meant to distinguish tonal value. Traditionally these shades were made by using paint. However, even this aspect is expanded in “Monochrome” group show. Instead of mixing paints, Hannah Quinlivan employs LEDs to create shades generating through the interaction between lights and shadows. Troy Simmons and Ye Jin-young put a stronger emphasis on what can be seen from the expressive, energetic shapes to the delicate, hand-pulled clay petals.

For press inquiries or general information, please contact the gallery office at or call at 631-903-5564.


Experimenting with intensified and distorted sensory perception, BynumSimmons, and Laube transform traditional art forms into psychedelic encounters.

Peter Bynum invites viewers to experience a higher form of consciousness, to engage in meditation on the oneness of all living things, and abandon artistic ego to the innate intelligence of paint. Exploiting the inherent branching composition and dendritic forms of pressurized paint, the artist reveals the medium’s affinity to infrastructures present in nature. Corporeal capillaries and floral root systems are recalled with kaleidoscopic intensity in Bynum’s illuminated paintings. Abandoning the restriction of direct light, the artist utilizes the pure white light of flat-panel LEDs to illuminate acrylic through panes of tempered glass. Darkroom exhibition enhances the psychotropic experience of Bynum’s light-infused works.

Opposition dominates the work of Troy Simmons. Inspired by the dissonant relationship between man and nature, the artist explores possibilities for a stable coexistence of opposites. Recalling the emergence of vegetal growth from sidewalk crevices, Simmons’ sculptures juxtapose somber concrete and aluminum against vibrant splashes of acrylic paint. Echoing the artist’s fascination with nature and modern Brutalist Architecture, medium identifies Simmons’ works as contemporary manifestations of the 1960s Arte Povera movement, transforming foundational building materials into vessels of aesthetic creation. Dichotomous concept and medium serve as a physical investigation of what Simmons refers to as ‘incompatible binary relationships’. Deliberate and overt, such opposition knocks viewers off balance, resulting in a psychedelic experience of Simmons’ work.

Transgressing boundaries of traditional painting, Michael Laube unshackles the medium from the confines of space and time. Suspension of acrylic paint within sheets of plexiglass produce fluctuating highlights, reflections, and refractions incapable of absolute localization. The result: disembodied, dematerialized surfaces transformed by light. Inextricably woven into the surrounding space, Laube’s sculptural paintings exist beyond conformity to the definition of pure objectivity, capturing a spatial color effect reminiscent of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Appearing to mutate and diversify, the hallucinogenic quality of Laube’s work encourages viewers to change perspective and experience the work from varying angles.


“Durchbruch”, and Troy Simmons‘ Brutalism Series, explores the destructive relationship man has on nature. The artist stretches the viewer’s imagination in his visual translation of how nature is depicted as an independent entity – a revolutionary force.

Simmons describes his work as an exploration of incompatible binary relationships. He continues to challenge himself by creating unique pieces that expose the stable coexistence of opposites.

Inspired by nature’s persistence to co-exist despite the impact we impose, Simmons’ work is a contemporary re-incarnation of the Arte Povera genre. He uses concrete, color fields and organic forms to express his position on the harmonious existence of different entities.

Troy Simmons was born in Texas and currently lives and works in Miami, FL.

Artnet Asks: Troy Simmons

Nature and Brutalism influence the tactile works of Troy Simmons, who appropriates tools and materials commonly used in construction projects. His mixed-media pieces are subjected to deconstructive processes in the artist’s attempt to grapple with the relationship between uninhibited nature and urban order. Simmons will be exhibiting next at Art Paris with JanKossen Contemporary.


When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Childhood explorations, through the woods of East Texas, exposed me to the unique characteristics of a plant called Berchemia Scandens. It wraps itself around nearby objects, while trying to reach sunlight, strangling its host to the point of destruction. The plant is usually chopped and destroyed to control its widespread growth. After bringing a few cut pieces back to my home in Houston, my mind was filled with thoughts of this plant growing free and uncontrolled in an urban environment. The juxtaposition of concrete, metal, and wood, harmonizing while competing for space, pushed me to become an artist.

Do you have a motto for yourself or your artistic process?
I’m not sure if I’d considered this my motto, but a hammer is my paintbrush and Home Depot is my art supply store. To be more specific, I repurpose construction products to execute my ideas.

I work with a wide variety of materials and tools: chisels, lasers, levels, upholstery tools, auto paint, acrylics, resin, and aluminum, to name a few. I enjoy learning and experimenting with different materials, stretching the limits of their intended use.

Describe your creative process. What kinds of patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
I approach each piece like a construction project. I create sketches, 3D renderings, and detail drawings before physically starting a piece. The framing and structural parts of my work have to be precisely engineered. After laying the concrete, I begin the process of deconstruction. Sometimes, I’ll drop the piece, allowing the characteristics of concrete to freely take over. I then use hammers, chisels, and drills to sculpt the concrete into the desired form. I’m a night dweller, so most of my ideas usually come while most are sleeping. Midnight is the peak of my creative day, constructing frames and mixing concrete. I usually listen to a musician by the name of Pantha Du Prince while I work.

Do you ever experience artist’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
Fortunately, I have not truly experienced artist’s block so far. Most of my pieces take from two to six months to complete. So, I usually have more of a problem deciding which ideas I want to bring to life. To overcome this, I try to create pieces that fit a specific space or location I’ve seen or visited in the past.

If you could own any artwork, what would it be and why?
If space was no issue, I would love to own the Yugoslav World War II monument located in Tjentiste, Bosnia. I love the precise, yet free-formed characteristics of the piece.

If you could have dinner with any three artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
I’m most influenced by architects (artists) from the Brutalism movement of the 1950s and 1960s. I spent time exploring southern Germany and toured a church called Feldbergkirche (Feldberg Church) by architect Rainer Disse. That was my first experience with postwar modern Brutalism. I was intrigued by the large geometric shapes, created entirely with board-formed concrete. The hard, straight lines of the structure, surrounded by the Black Forest seemed paradoxical but harmonious. I’d also love to sit down with Charles-Édouard Jeanneret,Richard Neutra, and the Croatian sculptor Vojin Bakić.

If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you would be doing?
Although nature was the driving force behind my art, it also guided me into the environmental science field. I worked as a lab technician for a water treatment company for three years before giving in to a more creative line of work. Not truly understanding the art world or what it had to offer, I pursued a degree in architecture. I worked as an architectural designer for a residential design/build firm in Oklahoma City until the economy crashed in 2008. These fields of work were just catalysts to help feed my creativity, so it’s hard to imagine my life without art.

How do you decide what to title your works?
Most of my titles are drawn from the inspiration behind the piece. My surroundings and experiences influence the naming of each piece. Everything from a weed growing through a crack in the sidewalk to the people in the isles of the local grocery store, all play a part in the inspiration and title of my work.


Troy Simmons basa sus obras en Naturaleza y brutalismo. Para ello se apropia de herramientas y materiales de uso común en los proyectos de construcción. Sus piezas de técnica mixta son sometidas a procesos deconstructivas en el intento del artista que lidiar con la relación entre la naturaleza desinhibida y orden urbano. Simmons estará presente junto a Art París con JanKossen Contemporáneo.

Tras la entrevista realizada por Artnet hemos podido conocer más en profundidad al artista.

¿Cuándo supiste que querías ser un artista?

Exploraciones de la niñez, a través de los bosques del este de Texas, me expusieron a las características únicas de una planta llamada Berchemia Scandens. Se envuelve alrededor de los objetos cercanos, mientras trataba de llegar a la luz del sol, que estrangula su huésped hasta el punto de la destrucción. La planta está generalmente picado y destruyó para controlar su crecimiento generalizado. Después de traer un par de piezas cortadas de vuelta a mi casa en Houston, mi mente estaba llena de pensamientos de esta planta que crece libre y sin control en un entorno urbano. La yuxtaposición de hormigón, metal y madera, armonizando mientras compiten por el espacio, me empujó a convertirse en un artista.

¿Tienes un lema para usted o su proceso artístico?

No estoy seguro de si me hubiera considerado esta mi lema, sino un martillo es mi pincel y Home Depot es mi tienda de arte. Para ser más específicos, que reutilizar los productos de construcción para la ejecución de mis ideas.

Yo trabajo con una amplia variedad de materiales y herramientas: cinceles, rayos láser, niveles, herramientas de tapicería, pintura de automóviles, acrílicos, resina y aluminio, por nombrar algunos. Disfruto aprendiendo y experimentando con diferentes materiales, que se extiende de los límites de su uso previsto.

Describa su proceso creativo. ¿Qué tipo de patrones, rutinas o rituales tienes?

Me acerco a cada pieza como un proyecto de construcción. Puedo crear bocetos, renders 3D y planos de detalle antes de comenzar físicamente una pieza. El encuadre y partes estructurales de mi trabajo tiene que ser diseñado con precisión. Después de poner el concreto, empiezo el proceso de deconstrucción. A veces, voy a soltar la pieza, permitiendo que las características del hormigón para tomar libremente sobre. Luego utilizo martillos, cinceles y taladros para esculpir el hormigón en la forma deseada. Soy un habitante de la noche, así que la mayoría de mis ideas suelen venir mientras que la mayoría están durmiendo. Medianoche es el pico de mi día creativo, la construcción de marcos y mezcla de concreto. Yo suelo escuchar a un músico con el nombre de Pantha Du Prince mientras trabajo. 

¿Alguna vez se experimenta bloque del artista? ¿Qué hacer para superarlo?

Afortunadamente, no he experimentado verdaderamente bloque del artista hasta el momento. La mayoría de mis piezas toman de dos a seis meses. Así que, por lo general tienen más de un problema de decidir qué ideas Quiero traer a la vida. Para superar esto, trato de crear piezas que encajan un espacio o lugar que he visto o visitado en el pasado específico.

¿Si pudieras poseer cualquier obra de arte, ¿cuál sería y por qué?

Si el espacio no fue ningún problema, me encantaría poseer el Yugoslava monumento de la Segunda Guerra Mundial se encuentra en Tjentište, Bosnia. Me encantan las características precisas, sin embargo gratuitas formado de la pieza.

¿Si pudieras cenar con cualquiera de los tres artistas, vivos o muertos, a quién elegirías?

Estoy más influenciado por los arquitectos (artistas) del movimiento brutalismo de los años 1950 y 1960. Pasé tiempo a explorar el sur de Alemania y recorrí una iglesia llamada Feldbergkirche (Iglesia Feldberg) por el arquitecto Rainer Disse. Esa fue mi primera experiencia con brutalismo moderna de posguerra. Yo estaba intrigado por las grandes formas geométricas, creados enteramente con hormigón tablero-formado. Las líneas duras, rectas de la estructura, rodeada por el Bosque Negro parecía paradójico, pero armonioso. También me encantaría sentarme con Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, Richard Neutra, y el escultor croata Vojin Bakić. 

Si no fueras un artista, ¿qué crees que estarías haciendo?

Aunque la naturaleza fue la fuerza impulsora detrás de mi arte, sino que también me guió en el campo de las ciencias ambientales. He trabajado como técnico de laboratorio para una empresa de tratamiento de agua durante tres años antes de ceder a una línea más creativa de la obra. No realmente entender el mundo del arte o lo que tenía que ofrecer, seguí una licenciatura en arquitectura. Trabajé como diseñador arquitectónico para una empresa de diseño / construcción residencial en la ciudad de Oklahoma hasta que la economía se estrelló en 2008. Estos campos de trabajo eran sólo catalizadores para ayudar a alimentar a mi creatividad, por lo que es difícil de imaginar mi vida sin el arte. 

¿Cómo se decide qué título de tus obras?

La mayoría de mis títulos se han extraído de la inspiración detrás de la pieza. Mi entorno y experiencias influyen en la nomenclatura de cada pieza. Todo, desde una mala hierba que crece a través de una grieta en la acera a las personas en las islas de la tienda de comestibles, todos juegan un papel en la inspiración y el título de mi trabajo.