, b. 1981

LY depicts the streets of Tokyo through the prism of her imagination. The artists’ musings on modern life are told in a neo-pop, Superflat style with a palette of solely black, white and grey. The protagonist of her practice - an imagined amorphous character called LUV - appears across painting, drawing and sculpture in urban landscapes and forests made from hard-edged planes of colour. Personal anecdotes document wider cultural trends and histories. The skate shop in the woods (2020) shows a quintessential pandemic scenario: arriving at a shop to find it closed. One figure is curled on the floor in a lonely-looking pose, while another comically pokes its head out from behind a shrub. The painting’s palette - composed of eleven carefully mixed blue-grey hues - contrasts the playful tone of the second figure. Through this contrast, LY expresses the all-too-relatable feelings of loneliness and boredom felt by many during global lockdowns. LUV’s gaze functions as a mirror to LY’s intentions as an artist. 4 LUVS (2020) shows LY’s trademark character replicated four times in front of a row of shops. The figures, while plaintive, stare assertively at the viewer, embodying the strength of LY’s personal commitment to painting. “LUV always sees straight forward because I [too] am going to look forward to my future living as a painter,” she says. In this sense LUV functions as a quietly absurd mode of self-portraiture, a whimsical and charming diary of the artist’s life. “My creatures are my dear darlings. I consider each of them as an individual.” – LY