-[not(painting)]: extending the field

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June 12 – July 19, 2003

Curated by Koan Jeff Baysa

Artists: Monica Castillo, Emma Dewing, Margaret Evangeline, Habib Kheradyar, Kunié Sugiura and Gyoko Yoshida

This exciting exhibition takes a different stance from the legion of shows about the arguable death of painting. The works selected are not paintings per se, but painterly works that ponder the actual versus conceptual boundaries of the pictorial plane and its disruption by form and time in video, photography, sculpture, installation, and performance. “-[not(painting)]:extending the field” is not intended to rehash the Lazarus non-issues of contemporary painting, but rather to probe the limits of the contentious picture plane, querying: “What physical, psychic, and historical spaces does this painterly work occupy?” and “How does the art galvanize the space between the viewer and the work?”

The exhibition gathers six artists from around the globe: Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, New York, and Mexico City, with their diverse painterly styles, broaching the definitions of painting with its oscillations between abstraction and representation, the sensual and the conceptual, and its facets with sculpture, photography, video, installation, and performance. Margaret Evangeline (NY) startlingly disrupts and distorts the surfaces and reflections of electropolished stainless steel sheets by piercing them with bullets of varying caliber and backing them with porcelain, Chinese paper, or toile de jouy. Gyoko Yoshida (Tokyo) combines materials with immaterial qualities in color, volume, weight, and transparency in her elegant installed and framed works, jumbling the visual vocabularies and interrelationships of surface and frame. Monica Castillo (Mexico DF) presents a captivating projected digital video of a ballerina wearing open paint cans strapped to her trunk and limbs; her balletic maneuvers create a large action painting on the floor, as she in turn, becomes a painted object. Habib Kheradyar (LA) constructs his work of loose-weaved fabrics and armatures that insinuates movement with a shifting moiré pattern. In his dramatic performance, he is suspended and immured, then freed from within its fabric walls. Emma Dewing (NY/London) creates stunning works by loosely gesturing with molten pewter, picking up nuances of the horizontal surfaces upon which they are poured. The cooled forms are then composed on the gallery wall and floor. Kunié Sugiura (NY/Tokyo) encourages various animals to mark the surfaces of photographic paper placed beneath them with their movements and excretions. She then creates a photogram of the live animals on the same sheet with a flash of light, combining negative and positive mark-making aspects of the photographic process.

Koan-Jeff Baysa is a curator, writer, art collector, practicing physician, and alumnus of the Whitney Independent Study Program in Curatorial Studies. Dr. Baysa is on the boards of The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School University, Art and Science Collaborations Inc., Art Omi International Artists’ Colony, Cross Path Culture, and artbrain.org.
As part of this exhibition, we will host an artists’ panel with NY art critics and writers, Dominique Nahas and Jonathan Goodman, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12th, 2003.

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Beyond the Flâneur

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April 12 – May 24, 2003

Curated by Yasufumi Nakamori

Artists: Akane Asaoka, Kenn Bass, Franklin Evans, Naoya Hatakeyama, Yun-Fei Ji, Masahiko Kuwahara, Mark Parsons, Gerry Snyder

Ise Cultural Foundation is pleased to present the exhibition Beyond the Flâneur, featuring works by Akane Asaoka, Kenn Bass, Franklin Evans, Naoya Hatakeyama, Yun-Fei Ji, Masahiko Kuwahara, Mark Parsons, and Gerry Snyder.  The eight artists primarily based in Tokyo and New York, experiencing their environs as a flâneur,  present their views of contemporary life. This multi-media exhibition includes photography, drawing, painting, and video/sound installation.

The flâneur artist, as defined by 19th century French literary figures such as Charles Baudelaire and Honoré de Balzac, is someone who strolls city streets while observing his surroundings with a detached air and critiquing events and people around him.  The flâneur strolls the boulevards and observes the unfolding spectacle of Parisian life in constant flux.  His mind and eyes rove as freely as his steps during his journey through the labyrinthine city with the purpose of resolving its mysteries.  Such a personage was interesting to Baudelaire, only if he were a “modern” figure of his own time.  He was considered a dandy flâneur if he focused on the most current aspects of contemporary life in a metropolis and related his work to such life as well as a new conception of representation, where pictorial form and content both held crucial roles.

In contemporary life, the flâneur artist leisurely walks in urban environments, real or virtual. The artists in this exhibition will be presenting works that reflect their views of contemporary life through the eyes of the flâneur, dealing with the complexities created through urban environments and their inner states. Their pictorial forms often incorporate panoramic spans of language, sky, figures, and/or animals.

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One such example is Akane Asaoka who, by combining photographs of New York City streets and the images of the light sources within, creates images of urban constellations.  Gerry Snyder, while using the storyboard style in vignettes, depicts cartoon-like composite species in utopian settings in multi-panel oil paintings.  Yun-Fei Ji often depicts “urban” phenomena in modern Chinese history in drawings where “the lyrical quality of classical ink paintings is combined with playful satire.” Naoya Hatakeyama, in his photographs, leads the viewer into the bowels of Tokyo, where “the realm of the sewer is ruled by total darkness and inhabited by the unknown.” Mark Parsons, having experienced urban life conditions through profound geometry, expresses in his sculpture, physical structures as metaphors for a system of logic and human construct.  Franklin Evans depicts images through drawing, which represent a metaphoric manifestation of the urban systems that sustain life in the city.  Masahiko Kuwahara paints surreal panoramas, where animal-like figures float in a post-disaster landscape.   Kenn Bass, in his video/sound installation, investigates a relationship between experience and memory, emerging from the sub-conscious related to living in a city and traveling.

As part of this exhibition, we will host an artists’ talk and discussion to be moderated by Katy Siegel, art critic and assistant professor of art history and criticism at Hunter College.

LEAN: Paul Chan, Isami Ching, Andrew Rogers, Lan Tuazon, Kehinde Wiley

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February 22 – March 29, 2003

Curated by Eungie Joo

Artists: Paul Chan, Isami Ching, Andrew Rogers, Lan Tuazon, Kehinde Wiley

Ise Cultural Foundation presents LEAN: Paul Chan, Isami Ching, Andrew Rogers, Lan Tuazon, and Kehinde Wiley: An exhibition that strives to explore an aesthetic cooperation between works, prioritizing the relationship between the visual and conceptual logic within.  Works include figurative painting, photography, sculpture, new media and film.

Lean is a curatorial effort to explore the concept of aesthetic cooperation between works, one that prioritizes visuality and how visuality might relate to and expand our grasp of the conceptual logic practiced within a work.  Paul Chan, Isami Ching, Andrew Rogers, Lan Tuazon, and Kehinde Wiley approach the formal conventions of their respective media with an analytical curiosity that destabilizes the reliability of codified forms.  While theirs are not simply deconstructionist agendas, the artists’ engagements with structural convention question the efficacy of our visual language urging us to reconsider societal systems and our relationship to the natural world.  Lean addresses formal aesthetic conventions in contemporary art practice as a vehicle of communication, drawing upon practitioners of abstract and figurative painting (Wiley), landscape photography (Rogers), sculpture and performance (Ching, Tuazon), and new media/film (Chan).

Paul Chan explores utopic desire, forms of communication, and exchange in his work.  Chan creates animated characters, computer fonts, and substitute narratives that are in and of themselves systems of knowledge.  For this exhibition, he will show prints from Alternumerics (2001).  In this project, Chan developed several different fonts for word processing that translate everyday text into linguistic and gestural drawings.  In Map of the Future I-IV (2002), Chan has applied his most complicated font, The Future Must Be Sweet, After Fourier.  This font was developed by combining the major tenets of the utopian philosophy of Charles Fourier (in order of their significance) with statistical information on letter usage and the frequency of letter combinations in the English language.  To this Chan added the element of drawing in three-dimensions: straight lines that “connect” ideas into a continuous system, thus creating a kind of narrativity within the structure of a word or idea.

Isami Ching is interested in concepts of ambiguity, masquerade, humor, and the accidental.  His work addresses notions of order, the confluence of forces behind a sculptural gesture, and the relationship between the viewer and the charged space around a sculptural object.  In Correspondence (2001), which will be presented as part of Lean, mechanized scissors sit atop a ceiling beam.  We hear the sound of the scissors’ snips at 40-second intervals, as thin strips of paper tumble in the air, wafting to the gallery floor like seedpods.  The strips contain fragments of text, an incomplete “Dear Jane” letter reconsidered as tens of thousands of temporal gestures descending gracefully across time, space and intent: object becomes function, text becomes object, repetition becomes form.  While his investigations accept the viewer’s employment of prejudice, assumption, and simplification as a kind of defensive system of order in the face of infinite possibilities, Ching’s work continues to strive for a purer, more immediate state of interaction.

Combining the detached, objective language of documentary photography with a rich, painterly palette, Andrew Rogers’ luscious chromogenic prints explore the built environment as natural landscape.  In Landscape, Geological and Other Features (2002), Rogers employs a low perspective “to give the sense to the viewer that they do have access, that there is no such thing as private property, borders and barriers…The site existed to me as a kind of metaphor for another world, much in the same way the western landscapes functioned for the early photographic explorers. And it exists in reality as another world, no longer what it has been and not yet what it will be.  Not only a place in transition, but also a new creation in and of itself.”  Focusing on spaces in transition, Rogers strives for a relationship between the viewer and image that is concrete and physical—a relationship to the landscapes pictured; a relationship to an uncontainable present.

The concept of aesthetic cooperation at the core of Lean necessarily relies upon a dynamic interaction between works.  Central to the project is the work of Lan Tuazon.  Tuazon’s work in photography and sculpture has explored the narrative and ethnographic in search of a new form of exchange between subject and artist, between representation and object.  She has also come to think about public space and the sometimes contentious social agreement of the appropriate behavior for those spaces.  Tuazon’s drawings on acetate suggest the artifice of architectural and social order and its power to erase reality.  Depicting crumbling walls and shot out glass in a cartoonish style, and applied directly to the surface of walls and windows, these images reject the complacency of our flat world.  Tuazon’s works will be made in dialogue with the exhibition floorplan, interacting with the physical location of other works in the gallery.

Kehinde Wiley’s works admit an early interest in Neoclassical and Romantic painting as escape, spectacle, and representations of beauty.  But his are also about absolute or free play á la Peter Halley and Mel Bochner.  Relying on pastels and ornament, Wiley explores the dissonance between object and original, past and present, and fore- and background, offering a self-consciously delicious brand of portraiture that is smart, witty, and scathing.  Combining the flamboyant motifs of French rococo, classical figuration, and a lively engagement with color to address representations of masculinity and beauty, he admits, “I see now how I critique and embrace the same traditions, like sibling histories.  I like to think of history as a rhetorical device.”  As they lure the viewer into a complex web of aesthetics and social critique, Wiley’s elegant, elaborate works question the very plausibility of figurative painting as a gesture and the relevance of beauty and aesthetics as systems of comprehension.

Eungie Joo is a curator and writer based in New York.  She has curated Widely Unknown at Deitch Projects (2001) and the 2002 MFA Thesis Exhibition at Columbia University.  This spring she is co-curator of Time After Time: Asia and our Moment with Doryun Chong and Rene De Guzman, which opens April 2003 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

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Making It Home: Three Contemporary Asian Artists

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November 9 – December 14, 2002

Curated by Miwako Tezuka and Shin-Yi Yang

Artists: Michael Lin, Hisayasu Takashio, C. J. Yeh

What does “home” mean to us? Is it a place of intimacy? Is it a meditative space set aside from the hustle-bustle of everyday life? Or is it a nostalgic origin from which we all depart?

The Ise Cultural Foundation proudly presents “Making It Home”, an exhibition that focuses on the theme of “home”, the impact of migration, and the resulting feelings of dislocation and relocation. Through the work of three Asian artists: Michael Lin, C. J. Yeh, and Hisayasu Takashio, the exhibition shows how this notion of “home” remains an elusive, yet inspirational source for the themes of exile, the boundary-crossing, and community.

Michael Lin was born in Japan, raised in Taiwan, and has lived in the United States. Currently, he spends his time mostly in Europe. His biography exemplifies a multi-cultural life of the contemporary artist, and he forms his view of “home” as a heterogeneous mixture of cultures. Lin fabricates a platform using decorative elements of multiple origins and invites us to rest upon his work. His installation becomes a temporary place for communal gathering.

Taiwanese artist C. J. Yeh has been based in the United States since 1993. He meticulously paints 162 wooden blocks and hinges them together to make them adjustable to their surroundings. Playful and inviting, the work resembles a child’s toy, but we are denied of access. This contradiction reflects Yeh’s continuing experience of alienation in America, and his artistic practice serves as a means to locate his “home” in cultural flux.

Hisayasu Takashio is a Japanese artist who came to America in 1991. He paints images that are vaguely identifiable as panoramic views of the ocean or of barren lands.  His work suggests the blurring of internal and external territories where psychological landscapes have no cultural certainty. A characteristic trace of his work is intensely textured painting surfaces. Takashio simulates the act of a toddler identifying its “home” for the first time through physical attachment to a space.

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WATERwalks

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September 14 – October 26, 2002

Curated by Mihee Ahn, Hyunjin Shin

Artists: Kelley Bush, Myung Chung, Makoto Fujimura, Soon Myung Hong, Hey-Yeon Jang, Jeannette Louie, Jenna Lucente, Meryl Meisler

The exhibition entitled, “WATERwalks” explores the Five-Element theory from far-east Asia. Focusing on the water-element from the five, this exhibition aims to promote better understanding of the Asian culture among American general public. This will be achieved by examining the characteristics of the water-element found even in the contemporary visual art works and in the process of creating artwork by the artists from both Eastern and Western ethnic backgrounds. Interpretation of artwork in the context of the water-element will be exhibited.  As such, this exhibition’s approach is unprecedentedly eclectic because the exhibition offers a way of critical reading in the context of Five-Element theory.  This approach invites audience to examine how the works are related to the theory instead of viewing art works that have direct visual reference to the philosophy.  By including both Asian and non-Asian artists this exhibition, the exhibition presents this Asian philosophy’s inclusiveness of all diverse people.

Together with the philosophy of Yin and Yang, the Five-Element theory has been one of the major principles for Asian sciences and philosophies. Taoism, Eastern medicines, Feng Sui, martial arts and I-Ching are examples that followed the legacy of this Five-Element Cosmology.  This five element theory is also the theory has been merged with Buddhism and Confucianism in their history for thousands years and created the contemporary Asian cultures that we share now. Even today, some contemporary physicists and psychoanalysts adapted this theory to their respective fields because the theory offered new perspective.

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The Drawing Room

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June 21 – July 27, 2002

Curated by Nao Onda

Artists:  Eva Lee, Frank Magnotta, Ayae Takahashi

Ise Cultural Foundation is pleased to announce a group show entitled The Drawing Room as the foundation’s summer project 2002. This exhibition will feature three contemporary artists, Eva Lee, Frank Magnotta and Ayae Takahashi, who are known for a common medium, large-scale drawing.

Eva Lee, who lives and works in Ridgefield, Connecticut, investigates worlds within worlds by making associations between an imagined world of nature and the constructed world of science through her drawings.  Her drawings are a series of dots and lines on black paper. The groups of dots, however, expand continuously from the incredibly fine micros to the imaginative macro universe.  The expansion seems almost endless like spacious galaxies that surround the earth.

The pencil drawn architecture by the Brooklyn artist Frank Magnotta seems to flow in white or black background.  He constructs the imaginary buildings, which are based on TV Guide. The size of each module of the buildings depends on the TV program’s time-run and the artist attaches the title of the program subsequently at the exterior.  His would-be-American ziggurats represent the atmosphere in a drowsy Monday morning and a feverish Friday night.

Boston-based artist Ayae Takahashi makes her settings of fairy tales in her large-scale drawings on panels.  The artist embeds her emotions   in the popular characters in the story such as Snow White, which every one has been acquainted since childhood. In her works, the eerie figures appear as the connotations that came through her personal hybrids of Eastern background and Western influence.  The viewers travel the parabolic world, experiencing the artist’s psychological intension as if they are reading the storybook.

The three artists impose the different worlds, overwhelming by the refinements of the works as well as the artists’ profound thoughts on drawings.  It surely leads the audience to investigate the significance of drawing itself.

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Spirit of Tea

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May 16 – June 8, 2002

Curated by Midori Yamamura

Artist: Yoshiaki Kaihatsu

The exhibition entitled “Spirit of Tea” is an attempt to determine cultural space that emerged out of Western modernism but from a spatial conception exists outside the Western tradition. The exhibition is based on traditional Japanese aesthetic practice of Chado, or tea ceremony, which is now predominantly practiced by women in Japan. Chado is a cultural practice that weaves the spiritual and physical elements of everyday life in order to establish a new reality. The tea space derives its significance from conversation and pleasure over a bowl of tea. A host and guests observe the beautiful seasons unfolding every year while bring great joy to its practitioners. The intellectual exchange between the host and the guests helps to create the sprit of the epoch they live in. Spirit of Tea introduced two emerging Japanese artist, Yoshiaki Kaihotsu and Michiyoshi Isozaki, grantees respectively of the Pola Foundation and Asia Cultural Council, lived and worked in New York City for a year. Both artist create community-based communication art. Their works may be regarded as representative of a generation of Japanese artist, who came into the public view after 1990. In contrast to the 1980s’ formalistic tendency in Japanese art supported by the bubble economy, many artist started to doubt the commercial system of art represented by the Ginza rental gallery system, and ventured outside to examine different possibilities in the visual arts.

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Kohei Kobayashi 3

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March 22 – April 20, 2002

Curated by Yuko Yamamoto (Yuko Yamamoto was working at Shiraishi Contemporary Art, Inc.(SCAI). She currently runs her gallery, YAMAMOTO GENDAI in Tokyo.)

Artist: Kohei Kobayashi

Ise Cultural Foundation presents the U.S. debut of a promising young video artist, Kohei Kobayashi, entitled Kohei Kobayashi 3.  This exhibition is a part of the Ise Foundation’s curatorial program, PEC (Program for Emerging Curators). Yuko Yamamoto takes charge of the curatorial direction for the second PEC exhibition.

In his video works, Kobayashi employs shadows of human figures continuously moving; composites of their body parts appear and flow as if they are kinetic objects freed from gravity.  Although there are absolutely no sounds in the works, the audience has afterimages of the black and white ghostlike figures and inevitably generates sounds in their minds during and after watching the images on the monitors.  Some of the viewers interpret the wriggling images as doppelgängers when they see themselves reflected in the imposing and entirely indifferent world of Kobayashi’s media work.  Likewise, the artist embeds his personal observation of his contemporaries in society in our subconscious psyches.

Kohei Kobayashi, who is a graduate from the oil painting department at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Art and Music in 1999, and lives and works in Japan.  He is one of the leading young artists in Japan and his works have been represented in several group shows including the Fukui Biennale 8 in the year of his graduation.  He has also had a solo show in Nagoya and will have one in Shizuoka after this exhibition at the Ise Foundation Gallery.  He is used to be one of the operating members of an artist-run space Art Space Dot in Nagoya.

Yuko Yamamoto, who is the invited curator for Kobayashi 3, is Japan-based and currently works at Shiraishi Contemporary Art Inc. (SCAI), Japan.  She has directed several remarkable exhibitions of Japanese contemporary artists such as Kenji Yanobe and Motohiko Odani at Roentgen Kunstraum, Tokyo and other spaces.

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Yuichi Higashionna: Walking the Window

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January 15 – February 23, 2002

Curated by Yumiko Chiba, Yumiko Chiba Associates

ISE Cultural Foundation is pleased to announce the inauguration of the exhibition program PEC: Program for Emerging Curators, which focuses on the curatorial devotions of emerging professionals who present cutting-edge artist in the field of contemporary art. The first PEC will be Yuichi Higashionna‘s solo exhibition,Walking the Window”, which comes to us from Ottawa, Canada. It is curated by the Japan-based curator, Yumiko Chiba of Yumiko Chiba Associates. In his first exhibition in New York, the artist simulates our living space, filling the entire gallery space with materials in everyday life. The viewers can experience the intimate atmosphere with pseudo-curtains painted on canvases through the window. By looking through the window and walking behind the wiucedndow, the audience is introduced to different impressions between the ‘seen’ and the ‘unseen’. People feel at ease in the pink walled “seen” space with its familiar objects. On the other hand the “unseen” behind the wall represents something uncanny in our contemporary life. The little trip in the installation work leads the guests to a conclusion of psychological disruption in such comfort, coexisiting with the veiled anxiety they have often sensed in their daily life. The guest curator, Yumiko Chiba, has organized numerous exhibitions of established and emerging artist at galleries and museums throughout Japan.

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