Paper Gallery, Durden and Ray, Gallery Lara Tokyo and Art Office Ozasa present
Private View-Thursday, September 27, 2018 6-9pm
September 29 - November 3, 2018
NATIVE: MANCHESTER is a touring exhibition that has thus far, taken in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Kyoto, Japan. The artists selected are from United States of America, Japan, Australia, and UK, forming a cross collaboration between PAPER, Durden & Ray, Gallery Lara Tokyo, and Art Office Ozasa. Native explores the concept of nationhood. In these troubled times, each artist was simply asked, “Where are you from?” and asked to work in response. This exhibition is the culmination of these thoughts.
A few years ago, whilst in Copenhagen, I visited the Statens Museum and saw a work by the Danish collective, Superflex, FOREIGNERS PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US ALONE WITH THE DANES! (2002). This statement could not be more apt at this time. In the British context of Brexit, this fear of a nation rife with xenophobia fills me with utter terror. It also colours my sense of what it means to be a native of a particular geographic location. It becomes a heartfelt cry: FOREIGNERS PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US ALONE WITH THE BRITS!
For EC, a London based artist, born and raised in the UK of Italian parents and having attached little importance to being of one single nationality, Brexit induced a kind of claustrophobic panic. Nationalism was rearing its head. The fact that EC’s work handles a crashing of elements that are complexly interpenetrating, occupying cusps or on the verge of collapse seems appropriate in this context. The artist often introduces elements into this work that could suggest something readable by breaking down painted text.
California resident, David Leapman, who won the John Moores Painting Prize in 1995, references his London inspired imagined mountains and those that surround the city of Riverside, California. Juxtaposed to this landscape are various idiosyncratic images originating from his former home city and sustained by his London sensibility. Based in LA and Japan, Kio Griffith’s work posits not simply reflections of his pan-nationality but also of pan-sensory experience. As is a visual/sound artist, curator, he creates a diverse trajectory of projects between the U.S. and Japan. By mining historical sociolinguistic references, he amplifies awareness of temporal events past, present and future.
Before setting off across the Pacific, four artists joined the touring exhibit, three from Los Angeles and one from San Jose. Mark Dutcher’s paintings are ongoing dialogues with tenets of abstract painting and contemporary allegories; Nick Brown’s watercolours are naturalistic vanitas reflecting our temporal state of impermanence; Esmeralda Montes’ paintings explore refurbished contemporary mythologies; and Chris Sicat’s obsessive and meticulous graphite work draws out the supernatural energy of fallen trees.
The galleries in Japan were selected by their presence in the east; the nation’s capital, Tokyo; and west; the old capital from medieval Japan, Kyoto. Gallery Lara Tokyo and Art Office Ozasa, respectively, have been active in showing both the emerging and the underrepresented artists from a wide bandwidth of national and international artists. Chihiro Minato is a contemporary photographer, socio-anthroplogist, and was the director of the 2016 Aichi Triennale; Nobuki Mizumoto carefully draws and carves intricately fine lines to reveal unaware beauty; Hidekazu Tanaka constructs paintings as action-objects; Yang02 + Kenta Ishige’s collaborative drawing works rely on the mechanism of their invented robotics; and Miyuki Yokomizo’s existential 'multiple-simplicity' evokes the sense of working in the invisible mind.