[Image: Toru Kamiya Portrait Series "F and K" Cotton cloth on panel, acrylic paint H32 x W40 (20 each) x D5cm, set of 2 Photo by Nobutada Omote]

Toru Kamiya "Portraits"

Imura Art Gallery Kyoto


Toru Kamiya
Toru Kamiya's representative works are paintings with a color plane composition characterized by gradation using acrylic paints, consisting of panel supports designed by Kamiya himself. The process begins by mixing acrylic paints to create each of the colors that form the elements of the color plane composition. Kamiya applies each color to the canvas and spreads it over the canvas using a homemade painting medium consisting of several brushes joined in a row. After the paint has dried, he repeats the same process several times, applying more and more paint until he is satisfied that the painting is finished.

In this exhibition, Kamiya mainly presents works from his “Portrait Series." These are portraits of the people around him that he has become involved with since moving to Kyoto, and they depict people from each community with whom he interacts on a daily basis, such as his family and workplace. Although they are portraits, Kamiya's portraits do not have a specific motif but are expressed in the form of paintings with a color surface composition, similar to the usual format of gradient works.

When painting a portrait, Kamiya often interviews the subject about his/her birthday or something that is connected to a number. Kamiya is a synaesthete who sees numbers as colored, and he uses the numbers as the basis for quoting the color of the subject's personality. When creating colors in a normal gradient artwork, he considers whether or not the work will work as a painting, and thinks, "I would like to see a painting with these colors," or "Will this combination work?" However, for portraits, he not only quotes the colors of the combination that will sound good together but also the colors of the subject, so he creates the work with high expectations, experimenting to see what it will look like. The characteristic of this series is that the paintings are created not necessarily only from an aesthetic point of view.

Until about two years ago, Kamiya was aiming for effects such as the appearance of depth, foreground, or distortion in the painting space. Now, however, he says, "I want to create a sense of depth in the painting."


Jun 23 (Fri) 2023-Jul 15 (Sat) 2023 

Opening Hours Information

Monday, Sunday, Holidays
VenueImura Art Gallery Kyoto
Location31 Higashi Maruta-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 606-8395
Access3 minute walk from exit 4 at Jingu Marutamachi Station on the Keihan line.