We could go deep into the meaning behind this body of work and the significance it holds for Kenji and his artistic journey, but the amazing Kristen Wawruck already so perfectly articulated all of that. Instead we'll talk about the Kenji we know, the guy who embarrassed Evoker by pinching his butt during a conversation with Os Gêmeos at the Boston ICA and who wore a Diana Ross wig to a Halloween party at LAP Gallery in Waltham, and what it means for us to see a friend be so awesome at what he does and receive the acclaim his work deserves.
We'll be honest; we had to look up what "Études" means (yeah, we're hoping some of you had to do the same). The title of the exhibition is a French word that refers to a "piece of music for the practice of a point of technique" (Merrriam-Webster Dictionary). The emphasis is on the technicality and the challenge to conform within the constraints Kenji has put on himself in this particular body of work, and his line work exhibits his rise to this challenge. 49 pieces make up the entirety of the exhibition, a number with some weighty symbolism (again, refer to Wawruck's press release), but the significance of the number aside, just seeing that much masterful work from one artist filling the walls of Fourth Wall is impressive in itself. The show allows you to be enveloped in it as a whole but also lose yourself in the details of each piece.
Kenji takes great care with his work and his craft, and it inevitably has shown through in this exhibition. Every piece in Études begs for closer inspection. Kenji's execution of paint to paper is nimble and mystical. The technicality of this work exhibits the time that has gone into each piece and is a testament to Kenji's skills as a painter and sign writer. The work is surprisingly affordable, and we'd suggest that you snatch up a piece for yourself because with the much deserved buzz that has built around Kenji's work from this show, there is certainty his prices will rise. So congrats to Kenji, a talented artist and a mischievous and fun-loving friend.