Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Gallery Watch: Moko Moko Doki Doki and Double Happiness at the Hole

Text and photos by Clare Gemima 

Moko Moko Doki Doki and Double Happiness 
at the Hole, 312 Bowery

The Hole, as I have previously relayed, takes the idea of transformation passionately and excels in this. Yes, this highlights the gallery's talented team, but more important, it provides a climactic show for both artist/s and gallery go-ers. 

Whether you enjoy the experience or not, there's no way that you'll be able to forget The Hole's first two shows of 2021. A cacophony of color, form and touch (that thing we've all forgotten about), Misaki Kawai presents Moko Moko Doki Doki filling the main floors in the space, while Double Happiness occupies the back room with luscious wetness and optical illusion from Caroline Larson and Roxanne Jackson. 

Moko Moko Doki Doki sets the tone all the way from the opposite side of Bowery — you can start to spot large mounds of purples and yellows and furry sculptures that will make you skip all the way to the front door. Moko Moko or  "fluffy"  colliding with Doki Doki or "excited heartbeat" literally describes the work perfectly. 

You're immediately made aware that you can pet the sculptures and feel as though you've traveled back in time to kindergarten, where words aren't really necessary anymore, but smiles, giggles, touching and enlivening your immature senses is of utmost importance. 

The sensations in my body and face as soon as I saw the array of fluffy and excited heartbeats were something unique to me — it has been a while since I've been physically affected by artwork. I was grateful to blush and laugh around these sculptures, stroke one and fight the urge not to cuddle the hell out of them all. I was suddenly 6 years old.

Kawai is an internationally renowned artist, most famous for her all-ages, immersive work that is bold and playful. A talented painter and illustrator, her new text-based works lace the walls of the show, presenting an interesting iteration of her G-rated sculptures while staying classically true to her repetitive use of emoji-esque motifs. This is her fourth solo show at The Hole since 2013. 

The darkish vibrance of Moko Moko Doki Doki's walls made the whole gallery look like miniature maze toys or building blocks. It kept you there, simply because it felt like there was so much to see and do, to play with and to pet. 

But in a lime green distance, there was a space I admittedly made a beeline for. Double Happiness took me to a level of speechlessness. Honestly, please do yourself a favor and visit this show. The name for me does not do it justice. I know it sounds corny, but seeing Caroline Larsen and Roxanne Jackson's work really tripled, quadrupled and I will go as far as to say it quintupled my happiness. 

This special two-person exhibition showcases new bodies of oil painting and ceramic sculpture. The two artists engage in ideas like doubling, mirroring, pattern, reinventing/invigorating craft and pushing the limits of historical/ traditional techniques.

Across the room, vases are positioned on mirror-topped plinths that host oil marks in their reflection. The sexy interventional designs of Jackson's vases proliferate as you navigate within Larson's multiplying paintings that surround the exhibition. There is color, design, form, meshing and merging absolutely everywhere. It's as nauseating to walk around the space as it is to stand still in this environment. You totally forget about the literal gestures here — flowers and vases. 

How these artists have conceived Double Happiness is doubly acerbic and commendable. The way Larson's delicious-looking paintings warp and skew and mess you up while you’re walking around delicate vases, so ready to smash (accidentally) proposes an optical challenge definitely worth trying out. 

Moko Moko Doki Doki and Double Happiness will both be showing until Valentine’s day at The Hole.

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Clare Gemima is a visual artist from New Zealand. New-ish to the East Village, she spends her time as an artist assistant and gallery go-er, hungry to explore what's happening in her local art world. You can find her work here: 

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