Ian Miyamura

Chaos Spawn

May 18 – June 15, 2024
2245 E Washington Blvd., Los Angeles
Opening Saturday, May 18, 6 – 8pm

Press Release

François Ghebaly is proud to present a solo exhibition of new works by New York-based painter Ian Miyamura, opening at the gallery’s Downtown Los Angeles location on Saturday, May 18, 2024. 

Ian Miyamura’s painting practice is defined by its chameleonic transformations across widely varying artistic languages. Through disparate series, Miyamura engages with questions of representation, painting history, perception, and style. Some are highly representational, such as a body of work that focuses on miniature models from the fantasy tabletop game Warhammer. These dramatically posed skeletal warriors, grotesque monsters, and elven mages are sold to hobbyists in a monochrome neutral, meant to be painted and decorated according to the rules of the game (or to the players’ preferences). Miyamura’s paintings of these figures place them in dramatic lighting and postures but retain their unpainted neutral tones. They are painted figures awaiting painting. 

In another series, Miyamura uses the language of abstraction to get at questions of representation through other means. His “fraternal paintings” are geometric grids painted as abutting diptychs—two canvases hung side by side. At first glance the two panels of the diptych appear identical, an illusion that quickly breaks down when one notices the arrangement of colored rectangles is out of order, the proportions of the two grids are mismatched, and even the surface textures of the paint are divergent. Is one side of this diptych an oddball depiction of the other? Is one in disguise? They underscore the tactic of doubling which Miyamura uses across his work, deploying doppelgangers to speak to the emulation and transmission of style and visual language.

Other series probe the question of representation through the use of distortion, text, and art historical reference. In this exhibition Miyamura includes a pair of seabirds depicted with anamorphic distortion that distends their bodies into a poetic capturing of flight, perspective, and atmosphere. Another series turns over the word “taste” in various arrangements and styles, in one instance rearranging the letters and in another decomposing the word into superimposed lines that may be read in multiple orientations. It is a fitting play of language within a practice that pivots on the idea of aesthetic taste as a substance to be manipulated and channeled. By mashing up these various series and styles, Miyamura inhabits the inherited and historically contingent languages of art history, fluidly questioning any stable truths beneath the camouflage.

Ian Miyamura (b. 1991, Kailua, Hawaiʻi) earned his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013, followed by an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2019. He is the recipient of several fellowships including the Luminarts Cultural Foundation of Chicago Fellowship, the LeRoy E. Hoffberger Foundation Fellowship, and a residency fellowship at MASS MoCA. Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include OCTOBER 31 at 4th Ward Project Space, Chicago, in 2022, and a solo exhibition at Bureau, New York in 2025. He lives and works in New York.

Ian Miyamura, morning gull in gentle ascent, 2024. Oil on muslin, 29.75 x 41.5 inches (76 x 105 cm.)

Ian Miyamura, 18 mortek guardsmen in formation, 2023. Oil on linen over panel, 7.25 x 10 inches (18.5 x 25.5 cm.)

Ian Miyamura, fraternal painting, 2024. Oil on muslin. Diptych, overall: 11 x 16.5 inches (28 x 42 cm)

Ian Miyamura, state, 2024. Oil on linen over panel in artist frame, 14 x 19.25 inches (36 x 49 cm.)