Channelling the mischievous, anarchic spirit of Dadaists from the turn of the 20thCentury, Japanese American artist KATSU (b.1982) began as a graffiti writer in the streets of New York in the early 2000s and has been developing his artistic output ever since. Through the use of drone technology, video, sculpture, andpublic intervention, KATSU explores the omnipresence of digital culture, privacy andthe pervasive anxiety around technology and its potential for use and misuse.For his first exhibition at OMNI,Mechawill present a suite of new paintings made using drone technology which the artist hasdeveloped and honed for the past decade. The termmechaderived from theJapanese wordメカ– a shortening of the English term mechanism (メカニズム)– refers to the giant robots or machines (mechs) controlled by humans.Channelling this technology, through custom-built painting drones and specialised software, the artist programs drones to create portraits, landscapes, and abstract dot paintings. Presented as distinctive series’, each of the works have been created by deploying autonomous and semi-autonomous painting drones to render directly on the canvas. The final outcome is not exclusively made by the artist, but instead occurs in collaboration between human and machine - mechas.
In a series consisting of large colourful dots, the pigment is built layer upon layer to create abstract fields that bleed and overlap in a manner reminiscent of KATSU’s graffiti heritage. In another, the artist created eight paintings that form a new suite of Dronescapes, The pointalist inspired works present a myriad of times – for example an expansive night scene – as well as distinctive locations, including the desert, and a reimagining of Monet’s Sunset on the Seine. Whereas pointillism focused on each tiny individual brushstroke, Dronescapes outsources the gestures of the human hand in a layering of dots and colour which, when combined together, form to reveal a cohesive whole.