Hope Brew: A Solo Exhibition of New Works by Hiromitsu Kuroo at Morton Fine Art, Washington D.C.

Featuring 13 works made between 2024 and 2022, Hope Brew is Hiromitsu Kuroo's first solo exhibition with the gallery and first in Washington D.C.

Hiromitsu Kuroo
Bleach E, 2024
28 x 37 in.
Ink and bleach on canvas
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist
Lisbeth Thalberg

Washington, D.C. – Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce Hope Brew, a solo exhibition of new works from Japanese collage painter Hiromitsu Kuroo’s Bleach Painting series. Requiring few materials while allowing for complex structures and intense sensitivity, the series’ simplicity, feasibility and rigor appeal to Kuroo, who first devised the Bleach Paintings series during COVID-19 pandemic’s long period of uncertainty and scarcity. Using everyday items for creation, the artworks are created on linen canvas using a bleach-based collage technique. The artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and first in Washington D.C, Hope Brew, will be on view from April 19 – May 18, 2024 at Morton Fine Art’s D.C. space (52 O St NW #302). An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2024, 2-4pm.

Hiromitsu Kuroo

Hiromitsu Kuroo
Hope Brew, 2023
16 x12 in.
Ink and bleach on canvas
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Thinned and sharpened by his use of bleach, the color and forms in Kuroo’s works evince a state of long endurance and erosion. Alongside pandemic necessity, inspiration for the bleach paintings sprung from a memorable 2014 camping trip Kuroo took through Utah and Colorado in the western United States. Viewing many Native American murals, Kuroo was struck both by their artistry and the weathering the works endured outdoors. Explaining his bleach painting process, Kuroo has underscored the importance of restraint and minimal use of paint: “I make the works primarily with bleach, using as little paint as possible. The ability to create beauty out of limited expression is a characteristic of Japanese culture expressed through many art forms, and as a painter working in the manner of the Origami tradition of paper folding, I wanted to carry that feature into my practice.” The canvas serves like paper where the gentle manipulation of its surface conveys intricate textural landscapes.

Moving from New York City in 2021 (where the artist lived for 18 years) to Saitama, Japan, Kuroo has continued his Bleach Paintings. Hope Brew collects work from the Japan-based period of the series. Building upon his early works, which tended to be smaller works on canvas, Kuroo now incorporates three-dimensional forms in his paintings, adding an expression of light and shadow, as in Bleach C (2024). Seemingly monochromatic, save for some gray smudges and faded blue lines resembling painter’s tape, the work reveals brilliant and unexpected color, shade and texture within its folds and panels. Consisting of a grid-like vertical base overlaid with a pinwheel arrangement of attached panels, Bleach C’s collaged forms and layers of battered paint give way to glimpses of green, yellow, sky-blue, gray and faded white, bruise-like smears and sheets of color. The expression of the soft bleached linen canvas and the sharp contrast of colors and shadows mix well together to create the large (34 x22 in.) work.

The Bleach Paintings command a sense of enduring brilliance and charged resilience, evoking the wan, but indelible-seeming colors and relics of industry while also gesturing to natural forms of entropy and decay. Suggesting a battery of actions, time and rigor, the works in Hope Brew exude an atmosphere of time and story.

Hiromitsu Kuroo
Hiromitsu Kuroo
Bleach B, 2024
22 x 20 in.
Ink and bleach on canvas

Hiromitsu Kuroo (Japan & New York, b. Japan)

Hiromitsu Kuroo is a Japanese collage painter working in the tradition of origami. In his work, the canvas serves as the paper, and the gentle manipulation of its surface conveys intricate textural landscapes. The multiple layers of colors in his folded canvases are revealed by sanding the canvas surface. Interested in the juxtaposition and vitality of collaged pieces of canvas, he uses them to accentuate other emerging shapes in his compositions.

Hiromitsu Kuroo earned both a BFA and MFA from Tohoku University of Art & Design and has had solo exhibitions at the New York-based Tenri Cultural Institute, Gloria Kennedy Gallery, MIKIMOTO NY, Makari and Bronx Community College, as well as the Tokyo-based Gallery Yamaguchi and G-Art Gallery. He was awarded Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants in 2010 and 2019, Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant in 2022, and the artist residency program for The Golden Foundation in 2019. In 2020, he was interviewed for Forbes Magazine. He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2022.

My childhood in Kaminagaya exposed me to the scarf dyeing factories on the Ooka River, and the beauty and joy of color–you can find clear nods to my youth in the repeating patterns within my works. The recurrent shapes and colors in my works are sourced from everyday life–natural landscapes, the scenery of the city, conversation with strangers, good books and music all help me materialize my pieces.

Hiromitsu Kuroo
Hiromitsu Kuroo headshot
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist

Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington D.C. by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African and Global Diaspora.

Hiromitsu Kuroo
Hiromitsu Kuroo
Bleach C, 2024
34 x 22 in.
Ink and bleach on canvas
Courtesy Morton Fine Art and the artist
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Journalist and artist (photographer). Editor of the art section at MCM. Contact: art (@) martincid (.) com
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