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The Kiss

Okubo, Benji [ bio ]

The Kiss
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painting
H: 10 in, W: 11 in
oil
canvas

California, 192x-193x

(2003.159.53)

Gift of Chisato Okubo

Description

Stretched and framed.

Oil painting of a gold skinned woman floating upside down, kissing the lips of the head a green haired man in three-quarter profile. The man has a grayish lavender face with bright pink lips, orange-red pupils in yellow eyes and pink green hair; he has a scant moustache and goatee and wears a pumpkin orange shirt. The woman is pale gold with black hair, gray eyes, coral lips and white pear earrings; she wears an orange shirt with a gray sash and a sea foam green skirt. The man stares straight ahead, toward the right of viewer. The woman's arms are outstretched in an embrace though the man appears to see past her.
The artist uses a combination of bright and muted colors to bring a sense of color harmony to the canvas. The brightest colors (golden yellow, orange and green) make up the woman's body and the eyes and lips of the man. This placement of color commands the viewer's attention and visually unifies the man and woman. The painting is rendered in a gently modeled fashion, particularly about the shading of the face, the folds and drapes of the woman's clothing, and the soft glow of the skin. The finer details are painted with delicate contour lines (the facial features and individual strands of her hair). The style of the painting blends elements of naturalistic surrealism (a 20th century art movement in which recognizable scenes are transformed into dreamlike images), and sychromism (with an emphasis on color harmony, balance of form, and rhythmic line work).

In this painting, the artist provides the viewer with an intimate glimpse of the reverie of the young man. He appears preoccupied as expressed by his wide and staring expression. The woman exists not in a literal sense but figuratively in his thoughts. The juxtaposition of the imagined woman and the real man shows the coexistence of a spiritual and physical realm.

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management & Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

 

 

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