Urban Sensitivity: Seven Contemporary Japanese Artists
M Wakasa Presents at Gallery Onetwentyeight
October 15 – November 8, 2009
Fuck the Furries. This show goes one better. If the Furries were sexual misfits who couldn’t cuddle up (or “yiff”) without first dressing up as foxes, raccoons, rabbits and bears, converting whole hotels into dens and lairs for their unconventional conventions, prosthetic artist Yuukyuusai here trades her original face for a second nature.
Her towering hand-sewn labor-intensive “Six-Banded Armadillo” patrolled the streets of downtown Tokyo like some silly Godzilla in an out-of-date Sci-Fi film about the future. Fear what I say! Costumed head-to-toe in a onesie, including tail, with sequined footies, Yuukyuusai did not merely don one more painted paper parade dragon but instead became a Neomorph, an ontologically new life form. Though thoroughly therianthropic she shows no signs of perverse paraphelias such as “babyfurs,” macrophelia (love of giants) or voraphelia (the love of being eaten.) Nor does she yiff.
Commencing an eternal rendezvous, Tetsuomi Sukeda took a vow to photograph one woman only, since they met five years ago. In his single work exhibited she appears seated while easel-painting-framed, yet the artist webbed her portrait with winding-sheets of white wax, effecting a low-budget Gothic mood à la Roger Corman’s Poe, hyperbolic porno jizz, or saltwater taffy.
The bride stripped bare, Kei Takemura shrouds fractured household objects of opaque personal worth in bandages of hazy gauze, “renovating” cracked glass (no chocolate grinder) by refitting them as knockoffs of traditional Kintsugi gilt restoration. Her pictures can be said to sift sad algorithms through translation software that rewrite Freud on dreams.
Takashi Usui’s ominous inkblots reconsider Rorschach, blood clots, vampire bats. Executed obsessively on notebook paper with a ballpoint pen his redoubled efforts incise scarification. Similarly employing ordinary ballpoint pens Tsubasa Takahashi suborns classic kimono design by lifting its cloud, flower, and night sea motifs surreptitiously off comics and animation’s backgrounds. Compulsion rules, too, in Taiyo Kimura’s work. Focusing on eyes, he carves sur-surrealistic wormholes into fashion magazines tunneling through stacked pages to expose unnerving strata.
Hazard this a Futurist show—would it be past, post, or future Futurism? Kazuki Umezawa cuts, condenses then collides innumerable imperceptible Internet images in lurid hues from bruise to fruit. Jaundice, lime, Bazooka Joe home in on his cyber hives, re(as)sembling the urban neon night’s retinal haymow.
The unknown is an exception; the known is a deception.
Mako Wakasa is a rogue gallerist or true urban nomad renting various venues such as ping pong parlors and even an inside drive-in movie theater, storefronts from which she has mounted commendably independent shows for four years in Tokyo and on New York City’s Lower East Side.
Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle is an American poet and art critic. He lives in Paris and New York City.
Unnatural Nature: Post-Pop LandscapesBy Alfred Mac Adam
JUNE 2022 | ArtSeen
The human appetite for landscape paintings is apparently infinite, and this show of no fewer than twenty-eight artists in its New York version (there was a second edition in Palm Beach, which like this one was curated by Todd Bradway) emulates that infinity. How easy it would be to get lost in all these painted forests!
Erika Doss’s Spiritual Moderns: Twentieth-Century American Artists and ReligionBy Daniel Kraft
MARCH 2023 | Art Books
Through case studies investigating the role of religion in the lives and works of four 20th century American artistsJoseph Cornell, Mark Tobey, Agnes Pelton, and Andy Warholand through a short closing chapter discussing Christian imagery in more recent art, Doss demonstrates how reductive this dismissal of spirituality really is.
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: The Sapphire ShowBy Zoë Hopkins
JUL-AUG 2021 | ArtSeen
Youve Come a Long Way, Baby: The Sapphire Show is an intimate gathering among old friends. Old and new works by each of the artists represented in the original exhibition flock together in a gorgeous reunion of living and passed on spirits.
from The Nature BookBy Tom Comitta
MARCH 2023 | Fiction
Darwin discovered that evolution proceeds with neither direction nor purpose. The natural world is largely indifferent to plan or plot. Yet we, story-seeking creatures that we are, see the world around us as more completed, more accomplished, than what came before. Tom Comitta’s The Nature Book explores these tensions by stitching together hundreds of fragments in the history of literary writing about the natural worldthis excerpt alone is a collage of ninety-seven novels ranging from Hawthorne to Arundhati Roy. Though the text of The Nature Book is a polyphonic effort of writers, humans are absent from the actual story. In this seamless anthology, we forget that the experience of reading about nature is mediated by human voices and, when suspended in the text, succumb to the magical illusion that we are perceiving the world in itself.