Imbuing the long tradition of hard-edge painting with subtle surrealist humor and a rich palette, Kobayashi has been carving out his own niche in contemporary abstract painting.
Osamu Kobayashi is known for his bold, reductive works which have fluidity of form and motion. His seemingly simple paintings are deceptively complex with intricate layering and with tactile, gestural application of paint. Biomorphic and geometric shapes float through dazzling backgrounds, and his paintings often allude to a variety of references, including landscapes, objects, and bodies. A light humor, arising from unexpected pictorial associations of his forms, often underlines his paintings, as well as a sense of indeterminacy at viewing forms that verge on the surreal.
His formally reductive approach often coalesces three- or four-color blocks—sometimes rendered as gradients—and employs wide, sweeping brush strokes using several utility brushes bolted together (at times as big as a broom) and his whole body to achieve precision. What look to be effortless strokes are actually the result of iterative processes of loading and reloading the brush multiple times until the artist achieves a satisfactory mark.
Kobayashi’s whimsical, playful palette is paired with control and incredible sharpness of line. The hard-edge imagery and precision recall the simple and clean lines of graphic design, color field painting, and anime. Imbuing the long tradition of hard-edge painting with subtle surrealist humor and a rich palette, Kobayashi has been carving out his own niche in contemporary abstract painting.
Osamu Kobayashi was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1984 and received a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006. He has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including solo exhibitions at Underdonk Gallery, New York; A+B Gallery, Brescia, Italy; Mindy Solomon Gallery, Florida; Greenwich House, New York; John David Gallery, Hudson, New York; and LA Artcore, Los Angeles. He has participated in group exhibitions at Lissone Contemporary Art Museum, Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University, the Bronx River Art Center, and the Columbia Museum of Art. In 2013, Kobayashi was awarded the Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Fund from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2021, he was awarded a NYFA Artist Fellowship. He is also a participant in the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. He lives and works in Brooklyn.