Tomoo Gokita paints with white on black, but his images don’t just look like renderings of mid-twentieth century photographic portraits. They seem rather to emerge from some dark void. In each painting, the face of at least one of the sitters is missing, with a grayscale gradient in the yawning gap. While these surreal ruptures are the most immediately striking thing about Gokita’s paintings, they are enriched by an array of other odd details. Stylistically incongruous drips and splatters hide in the pattern of a low-cut dress. A woman’s arm tapers into three slender fingers, and her husband delicately touches her wrist with his own stump of a hand. The overgrown toenails at the tips of truncated feet double the print at the hem of a robe. All over these paintings the strange leaks out of the familiar, as frankly as white and black blend in gray. —Brian Droitcour
Pictured: Tomoo Gokita: Another Happy Thought, 2016, acrylic and gouache on linen, 76 by 102 inches. Courtesy Mary Boone, New York.