In Size Matters artist and curator William Norton brings together seventeen visual artists and four performance artists from Japan, China, the USA, and the UAE, for whom the notion of scale is central. The curator questions in what ways does scale impact form? How does it affect meaning? And more specifically, how is our perception of scale affected by cultural differences between Asian and Western cultures?
Chris Ketchie’s “West” 1000 Paintings of Then is comprised of wood blocks which depict an allegorical memory of a trip to China. Each block of wood is painted in a unique calligraphic style, and grouped into larger blocks of color which altogether form an ebullient pattern on an entire wall.
Camelia Mohebi also relates to culture, history, and place. She paints patterns and shapes onto traditional Middle Eastern drum heads – the scale of each piece is predetermined by the historical precedent. Drawing upon the outstanding breakthroughs in math by Islamic mathematicians in the 9th and 10th centuries, she bases her visual interpretations on sacred geometry found in diverse sources ranging from Kabala to Einstein’s theory of parallel universes.
Yuki Okamoto renders on gel fingernails familiar masterworks from eastern and western art history cannons – Picasso, Munch, Van Gogh, and Kunyoshi Utagawa are literally at your fingertips.
Michael David draws upon history and iconography in a very different note. In the wall piece American Golem he embeds the Swaztika, a charged symbol he has started using since 1978 for almost 40 years. The Swaztika carries a dual meaning – for most viewers it will most likely resonate quite automatically with an evil Nazi emblem, but ironically the Swaztika in prehistory symbolized peace, and in religions like Hinduism, Mayan, and Eastern cultures, it represents regeneration.
The Golem in Christian and Judaic history speaks to the destructive nature of humans if they dare to elevate themselves above God. David says that Frankenstein , Hitler , the Atom Bomb, as well as some contemporary personalities in politics can be seen as “Golems”. in David’s work, the notion of Golem in conjunction with the Swaztika emblem create a presence which is both iconic and multi layered, where ultimately hope is not lost.
Other artists reference nature and cosmology of varying forms. Marcela Silva’s universe is made of diverse fragments – from the size of a marble to a whirling galaxy 2′ in diameter. Her particles, made of cast glass, ceramics and multitudes of other materials, draw the viewer into multitudes of worlds beyond our solar system while also plumbing our ocean depths.
Xiaowei Chen fantastical seascape grids bring to mind an archeologist’s diagram for an excavation. She draws with a very fine tipped pen on small square pieces of paper, and by arranging these separately cut forms in a grid, she invites the viewer to see the whole while focusing on each square at the same time.
In her site specific installation Beauty of Chaos Sonomi Kobayashi works to create the spontaneous beauty of life – full of accidents and happenstance. “Our lives are always spontaneous and often not how we planned, yet later you realize everything is perfect,” she says. Her installation consists of cut-out synthetic vellum pieces painted with alcohol ink – some meticulously painted and some are partly a by-product of chance, as free flowing ink she moves around marks the surface. Overall her abstracted forms and color palette conjure a sense of natural patterns, flora, or organic forms.
Millicent Young’s more architectural sculpture, Gate, is one in a series of work in which she combined salvaged window frames and poems. For instance, The Kingdom, by Jane Hirshfield is screened onto ordinary plate glass in ceramic ink and fired, creating the textured panel. The glass panes are leaded and suspend from steel frame windows the artist salvaged from a Virginia lace mill, where she returned to shoot the images. The sculpture was exhibited in Merida, Mexico, Pittsburgh, PA, and Arlington, VA where it has been repeatedly vandalized; thus embodying its history as part of a poignant narrative.
Some artists in the show relate in varying degrees to the body. For instance, Yukari Edamitsu’s large scale canvas keeps the scale within one’s field of vision. She attacks the canvas with bravura, which engages the viewer like a portal into her world.
Finally, Melissa Stern’s small-scale sculptures unearth the dark humor in daily life. The diminutive scale of these sculptures emphasizes both their intimate idiosyncrasy and the underlying humanistic impetus. They compel the viewer to get closer and become alert of their own humanity.
Participating Artists:Yukari Edamitsu Yuki Okamoto Marcela Silva Sonomi Kobayashi
Koto Takei Melissa Stern Noriko Nokano Millicent Young
Xiaowei Chen Miwael Camelia Mohebi Chris Ketchie
Michael David Daniel John Gadd Peter Hopkins
William Norton Cake Hara
September 29, 2018 – October 7, 2018
Opening September 28, 2018 from 12-8 pm
Performances Saturday, September 29 starting at 3pm
(Gallery hours every day from 12-6 pm during exhibition)
100 Bogart Street Gallery, 100 Bogart Street, Brooklyn NY 11206