Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Art references are everywhere. Conceptual art’s readymades, pop art’s packaging, and action painting’s gestures are all squeezed into Makoto Aida’s series “Lunchbox Paintings” (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Fashioned on disposable bento trays every work uses the same materials and undergoes similar processes but each yields different results.
Some are austere and minimal, while others are elaborate and ornamental. Sometimes the paint is poured into the divided sections measuredly, as though the trays were palettes belonging to painters from De Stijl. Quite often, the paint is slathered on crudely like excrement. At other times, pastel-coloured speckles are scattered prettily against their polystyrene backgrounds. What they all have in common is that the paint is not what it appears.
Fabricated from urethane foam which is then coloured with pigment to appear as paint-like as possible, the artist developed this series after he discovered this particular substance making “Comet-Chan” (2014). In the material’s most recent form, each lunchbox is a still-life that reveals the path, the impact and the conceits of the artist’s mark.

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida, From the series ‘Lunchbox Paintings’ (2016) at Mizuma Art Gallery. Photo: Nick West

After the exhibition at Mizuma Art Gallery, Aida continued making this series at the Setouchi Triennale 2016. Photo: Nick West

Makoto Aida was born in Niigata (1965). The artist lives and works in Kanagawa.
To see other artworks produced at Setouchi Triennale: Postcard from Setouchi
© Nick West 2016