Miho Dohi
Naotaka Hiro
Wataru Tominaga

April 13 – May 25, 2019
Reception: Saturday, April 13, 6 – 9 pm


Nonaka-Hill is delighted to present three concurrent exhibitions featuring Miho Dohi, Naotaka Hiro, and Wataru Tominaga. The occasion marks the first time each artist will be shown at the gallery.

Miho Dohi’s unique creative process is something of an ongoing experiment. Beginning with common materials – including fabric, yarn, paper and wood, along with metals such as brass, copper and wire – being manipulated by hand into shapes, Dohi continues to connect the pieces of material – painted, carved or twisted –  constantly changing direction as the objects tumble over as a result of their altered centers of gravity in a sort of rotational creation. Dohi notes the “object appears quite naturally out of that chaos.” The resulting abstract artifacts, cerebral in nature, occupy an unspecified space with a diverse interpretation as to their state of rest.

Exhibited in the main area of the gallery, several of Dohi’s sculptures (titled buttai – Japanese for “object”) are presented together on a specially constructed table designed to fill nearly the entire room. This arrangement is designed to display the works together on a level playing field, challenging perception of balance and form.

A fashion and textile designer trained in fine art, Wataru Tominaga approaches his practice like a sculptor or painter by first attempting to create visually interesting texture, rather than mass-produced apparel. Ignoring the functional aspect of the human body within his pieces, Tominaga instead views it as one of the many methods of displaying his finished work. This allows for the uninhibited exploration of performance and installation. In presentation, his curiosity lies inside the inhabited area and how his “works can be arranged and performed in the domestic place or the public space.”

Due to his interest in aesthetics over the practicality of an object, he is inclined to create pieces that are sculptural. Working against the textile’s predestined state, he proceeds with twisting, shaping, cutting, and stitching fabrics into an unconventional form with the resulting cocoon-like forms and vibrant prints reminiscent of early Japanese avant-garde.

In a site-specific installation, Tominaga transforms the middle room of the gallery, creating a new interpretation of his previous collection shown at The 31st International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères (2016), along with works created for the exhibition.

Naotaka Hiro’s artistic practice is rooted in the unknown, exploring the body – specifically his own – in an attempt to better understand our physical form.

Hiro’s work cannot be defined by its finished state but rather as a performance in creation, at times confining his body within cutouts of a large canvas to test the limitations of his natural reach while using a brush, oil stick or another instrument to paint, or by being physically suspended with ropes, allowing for the movements of his contorted limbs to briefly contact the canvas. In its very basic form, he abstractly creating, as he puts it, “a work of reinterpretation or reconstruction of my own image.” 

Not limited to canvas, Hiro draws, creates video, and sculpts. His sculptures are, as his canvas work, a study of our anatomy. Through this medium, he presents a more intimate view than can be experienced from a mirror or camera – objects the artist feels frustrated with as the principal way to see representations of ourselves. Created from casts of his own body parts, the highly conceptual, often life-size works are inspired by the artist’s subconscious, coming in a dream as if being given a blueprint to map the unseen form.

Two of Hiro’s large-scale works (9’ x 7’ each) are presented at the gallery, documenting his distinct style of painting. For the work Untitled (Crawl), 2016, the artist, as the name suggests, created the repetitive circles by crawling directly on the canvas with the aid of fabric dye, oil pastel, rope, and grommets. Also on view is Untitled (Two Legs Vertical), 2016, which incorporates the same material with different execution. Naotaka Hiro appears at Nonaka-Hill courtesy of The Box LA.


Miho Dohi was born in 1974 Nara-prefecture, Japan, and currently lives and works in Kanagawa.Her artistic practice was developed after completion of postgraduate studies at Tokyo Zokei University in 2002. Dohi has shown extensively in and outside of Japan, most recently with solo exhibitions at Lulu (Mexico City, 2017), Shane Campbell Gallery (Chicago, 2017), and HAGIWARA PROJECTS (Tokyo, 2016). This is her first gallery show on the West Coast.

Naotaka Hiro was born in 1972 in Osaka, Japan, and currently lives and works in Pasadena, California. He completed studies at California Institute of the Arts (MFA, 2000) and the University of California, Los Angeles (BA, 1997), and Universitas Gadja Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (1996). Hiro regularly joins artist talks and lecture panels at universities and institutions in the United States and abroad, including Pomona College Museum of Art and Casa Vecina in Mexico City. His works have been included in museum exhibitions around the world, such as Made in LA at Hammer Museum (2018) and Hiropon Show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2001), as well as galleries including Misako & Rosen (Tokyo), Shane Campbell Gallery (Chicago), Brennan & Griffin (New York), and The Box (Los Angeles).  He was most recently named by W Magazine as one of the 6 rising artists to watch in 2019.

Wataru Tominaga was born in 1988 in Kumamoto, Japan, and currently lives and works in Kanagawa. Tominaga’s extensive educational background includes Chelsea College of Art, MA Fine Art (2016); Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, BA Fashion Print (2015); Bunka Fashion College, Tokyo (2011), University of Art and Design Helsinki (student exchange program, 2009); Musashino Art University, BA Department of Industrial, Interior and Craft Design, Textile pathway (2010). Following completion of his studies, Tominaga won The Grand Jury Première Vision Prize at The 31st International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères (2016) and was the artist in residency at Palais de Tokyo, Le Pavillon Neuflize OBC, Paris from 2016 – 2017. Most recently, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 – Asia – The Arts 2018 list.