Ryoko Kaneta personifies the elements of nature by painting outsized female figures
Tokyo-based painter Ryoko Kaneta, a rising star of the Japanese art scene, has found a new way to express a traditional belief in her country. In her work, the spirit of God, which is said to imbue all of nature, is expressed as towering female forms that loom over the landscape.
Bringing together Japanese philosophies and an art style linked to the country the world over, Ryoko Kaneta has found a distinctly unique way to bring to life the belief that God dwells in all beings. As seen in her paintings, this belief takes the form of female figures traditionally seen in anime and manga, only this time they are taller than the clouds or stride over forests.
These paintings make up 14 new works, which are currently on display in Downtown Los Angeles at the Corey Helford Gallery. Displayed as part of an exhibition called In Our Nature, this major solo show represents Ryoko's US debut.
Carefully painted in acrylic, these descriptive paintings are embedded in Japan's historical culture. Yet, at the same time, they feel fresh and new and exist as fleeting spectacles of nature in their own right, which is appropriate. Picked out in acrylic, Ryoko's work suggests the passing of time and celebrates nature's ephemeral charms.
"The girls in my pieces, which are both large and small, embody nature and its many elements, along with invisible things such as signs and memories," Ryoko explains. "Since ancient times, it has been believed in Japan that all things have gods and life.
"The characters I draw are anthropomorphic beings of nature and invisible things, similar to the feeling when Japanese people see mountains or the sea and feel the existence of God. This exhibition expresses various aspects of nature, and I hope the viewer can feel the nature I tried to express through my characters in these works."
As well as using the female figure to personify elements of nature, such as the weather and dramatic seasonal transformations, these images also have a personal connection to Ryoko. Having visited some of the landscapes in these paintings, she approached painting these scenes in a similar way to the Rinpa and Kanō Schools, which are famed for portraying and celebrating nature in ancient Japanese literature.
And just as even the best weather cannot last forever, there's sadly not much time left to see these works on display as the exhibition closes this weekend. However, if you want to keep up to date with Ryoko's latest creations, be sure to follow her on Instagram.