My young hyena under the chair
This painting depicts a hyena, a recurring subject in the artist's work. The artist explains that "the hyena is a social animal, and it used to be considered androgynous. Ancient Roman people thought that the hyena could give birth without mating. I find this intriguing, so I often paint hyenas." The artist's figurative paintings depict ordinary people, animals and settings in ways that give them a vaguely surreal and slightly off-kilter feeling.
Charged with a sense of magical realism, Kobayashi’s figurative paintings combine a sense of intimacy with mystery. The artist's work explores the myriad ways in which we comprehend and feel tenderness toward the minutia of daily life. Her works also examine how liminal objects and phenomena—such as mirrors, windows or shadows—expose a complex duality of person and image through acts of reflection, fragmentation and distortion. In all of her paintings, Kobayashi sensitively explores (or imagines) the interior consciousness of her human and animal subjects.
In the spirit of magical realism, Minami Kobayashi’s figurative paintings depict ordinary people, animals and settings that seem ever so slightly off-kilter. The artist applies thin coats of fast-drying egg tempera paint to create jewel-like facets of color that seemingly emerge from the composition’s surface—evoking distant memories and half-remembered dreams. Combining intimacy with mystery, Kobayashi’s work explores her subjects’ interior life and their tender feelings toward the minutiae of daily life.
Minami Kobayashi was born in Negoya, Japan in 1989. The artist received an MFA in the Painting and Drawing Department of the School of Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois 2018, and a BFA from the Tokyo University of the Arts in Japan in 2015.
Solo exhibitions of Kobayashi’s work have taken place at: Goldfinch in Chicago, Illinois (2019); Baby Blue Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2017); and TANNE in Tokyo, Japan (2015).
Group exhibitions that have shown Kobayashi’s work include: Glimpses at LVL3 in Chicago, Illinois (2021); Tender to the Bone at Goldfinch in Chicago, Illinois (2021); Beyond Each Other at Florence Trust in London, UK (2021); Cave Canem at Eve Leibe Gallery in London, UK (2021); New-laid eggs vol.3 at GALLERY MoMo Ryogoku in Tokyo, Japan (2020); Birds shun such trees at Et al. in San Francisco, California (2020); A Peripheral Reverie at Penske Project in Montecito, California (2020); A mirror, a dish, a window at Goldfinch in Chicago, Illinois (2020); Anecdote at Stems Gallery in Bruxelles, Belgium (2020); Jip at Guimmies Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2019); Place out of Time at Setouchi Triennial in Kagawa, Japan (2019); BOXES at mhstudio in New York City (2019); themselves / themselves, the body, the dreaming, the disarmed body, curated by Shihuihui Zhou at the Living Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2019); LIVE IN YOUR WORLD / PLAY IN OURS, curated by Kyoko Hamaguchi at Realty Collective Gallery, New York (2019); Pick Me Up at 062 gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2019); Pen Incest at 062 gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2018); MARCHING THROUGH THE FIELDS, curated by Warbling collective in London, UK (2018); GIFC show at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Illinois (2018); 61st Chautauqua Annual Exhibition at VACI Gallery in Chautauqua, New York (2018); OBJECTS FETICHES / VOYAGE VOYAGE in Paris, France (2018); Spring in Motion at MOOCH gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2018); and What was painting? at Club Nutz in Chicago, Illinois (2018).
Kobayashi’s work has been featured in: The New York Times’ T Magazine’s 2021 Art Issue (“12 Galleries That Aren't in New York or Even Los Angeles”), Elephant magazine ("These Are the Artists You Need On Your Radar Right Now,” September 2020), as well as in Chicago Magazine, ArtMaze Magazine, New City Art, and Saatchi Art (Invest in Art Report 2018).
Kobayashi lives and works in London, UK.