Day at the Museum: On the Question of Seeing

Some weekends ago, I met up for lunch with Jee, a dear friend of mine and talented retail analyst and curator.  Having stuffed ourselves with the scrumptious food to be had over at Moma’s Cafe, we decided to partake in a much needed stroll over at MoMA’s permanent collections. Our promenade around MoMA’s floors was backed by the soft, intermittent patterings of female chatter– a soundtrack characteristic of a robust friendship such as ours. The program for the day revolved around the kinds of art we each liked and didn’t like.

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Got to see our favorite art together, Jee’s Chagall to my Magritte. Jee brought me to see this painting by Chagall. Marc Chagall was a French-Russian artist who was well regarded for masterfully synthesizing multiple art forms. This painting, I and the Village, boasts and imaginative and buoyant spirit though its bright color schemes and dream-like qualities. It’s said that the painting was meant to be a visual home for his memory of and relationship with the homeland he grew up in. I go back to my own memories of my childhood, and am content and grateful to feel things kindred to the ones here.
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I decided I wanted to emulate the painting’s spirit fully and be the horse– quickly remembered this is a public space and venerable museum– so I stopped.

I’ve always been fascinated by the individualities of seeing, how two people can regard the same object and come out with very different perceptions. So often do I come across a situation where one person finds something to be profoundly beautiful/good, while another comes to the polar opposite, yet equally certain conclusion for it (take this entire US election debacle, like how is that possible??! but the fact of the matter is, it is).

This conundrum is something I desire to understand on a deeper level:  What are the makeups that have constructed the way you and I presently see and react to the realities and the stimuli around us?

What are the recurring laws or patterns if any, that can help me to understand? Maybe a knowledge in perceptual psychology, neuroscience (Read this fascinating article on how political orientations are correlated with brain structure in young adults), and an aptitude for emotional intelligence would help, mais quoi d’autre?

I know that for me at least, art helps to explore this question further. In this practice of seeing, I am able to dig a little deeper into myself – my memories, my feelings, my hopes, my disappointments, & the thoughts and the hearts of the people in my circle. And in doing so, I find I understand life a little bit better.

I wonder what devices you rely on to see.

Happy Election Eve..

Bises,

Soo

Osamu Yokonami: Is it About the Journey or the Destination?

Osamu Yokonami is a Japanese artist and photographer based in Tokyo who devotes his lenses to the development of photographs contemplating homogeneity. His group portraitures are regarded for invoking notions about identity, the collective, naturality, and youth.

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Could be wrong, but pretty sure this is the photo that first pulled me to Yokanami.

I first became acquainted with Yokonami’s works at De Soto Gallery’s exhibition at the 2015 PULSE Art Fair in New York. His “Assembly” series was on display that day, and it most piqued my interest out of the swarms of art set out for many an art viewer’s purveyance. I ended up finding myself walking back to that booth section multiple times that Saturday afternoon, and since then, I’ve been  following Yokonami’s activities for nearly two years now (that’s what good art does to you peeps).

I find pleasure  in the idyllic qualities and the strange calm surrounding the odd  symmetries of his photographs- unsettling, a little disconcerting, and also very beautiful.

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I don’t really know what exactly I feel when I see his photographs, it doesn’t remove me and it doesn’t forcefully push me to a place where I’m aggressively thinking about an issue, a topic, or a stance.

Yokonami invites us to dwell on the journey for truth rather than the desination, I think. Or that’s what I feel.

The closest description I could put in regards to Yokonami’s effect on me is that his works put me in a deliberate state of an “in between” (As I see it, my mind occupies at this moment of seeing a super charged space with elements ie. high stimulation + calm + little sparkly little things firing everywhere in harmonious and  purposeful direction, but I can’t really determine the end of where they’re going (not sure there’s supposed to be one, or if that’s the even the point/goal)). I feel curiosity seeing his works and pondering on them is an experience beatific.

Scroll through his series of 100×2 photos of female children posed with fruits (apples and oranges) on their shoulders– and you’ll feel something too I bet.

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Personalities and energies of the children I found myself gravitating towards –felt increasingly in this descending order.

Bises,

Soo

Rene Magritte & the Terror of Blind Love

Painted by acclaimed French surrealist, Rene Magritte, The Lovers or Les Amants portrays the busts of two lovers in embrace, each face clothed and masked by a thick, opaque cloth.

Visual aids are emblems of the two lovers’ intimacy fiercely in consummate display, an intimacy that can be seen burgeoning with beautiful and quiet desperation. A feeling of being overcome by love shines brightly, albeit momentarily, until a much stronger and gripping undercurrent of detachment takes the focal point of our gaze, carrying all of its severity, with white cloth acting as catalyst.

The mid to dark-tone colorways that Magritte employs are subtle and unobtrusive enough to service also in the detachment between viewer and art subject.

Our gaze is swept off-kilter. We survey upon the scene of the lovers’ embrace as if looking one meter too far from that which is necessary to obtain maximum impact.

“Blindness”

 

Anxiety Creeps in,

Despair Prevails.

 

Too often we desperately seek to carry on a love stillborn.

Chad Wys on the Value of Retrospection

Last week, I had the chance to go to the opening reception for a show representing a favorite contemporary artist of mine, Chad Wys.

Chad Wys is a young artist and graduate of Illinois State University, whose passion for art and art history is affirmed by his burgeoning client list, which ranges from Vice Magazine to Harvard Business Review and Penguin Press.

Wys deals with mixed media, dabbling with ready made art and re-appropriating thrift finds and historical artworks, and marries realism and impressionsim with abstraction in revealing his unique ethos.

He gives commentary where it’s due: Take this clever piece of his of a burka masked over a realist oil painting copy of a young lady:

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Beautiful and poignant, isn’t it?

Je joins aux présentes, à titre de rappel, un aide-mémoire présentant les engagements de Wys:

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“Untitled”, my favorite. It’s tiny! The size of a letter page– an example of art best viewed digitally, at least for one lady.

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Thrift Store Landscape w/ Large Bars, 2013. If you’d like to purchase a fashion product parallel to this, visit: Ghurka.
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Trending Recent works

If you have the chance, hit up his ongoing exhibition (showing until October 1, 2016) “Not the Sum of Its Parts, Just the Parts” at Joseph Gross Gallery in Chelsea.

Instagram is also a fantastic way to get caught up on the work of this young talent: https://www.instagram.com/chadwys/

Happy perusal!

Bises,

Soo

Jean Jullien, I dub thee my Houdini of Illustrations

I’m an avid supporter of the arts, and for illustrations, Jean Jullien is my favorite artist for them by far.

The French artist’s claim to fame would arguably be at least for most public records, his impromptu illustration of the Eiffel Tower peace symbol in response to the terror attacks in France in 2015; This symbol was subsequently appropriated and propagated by every major and minor media outlet.

Might I also add that I had the pleasure of meeting him in New York that same year at a JUXTAPOZ Newstand Booth in the middle of Times Square? My right hand got to shake with his right hand. It was wonderful, although I regret to say that said hand has since been washed.
Jean Jullien manages to seamlessly blend light humor with real, and sometimes hard life truths, bringing light into the doldrums of life — the happenstances and practical things we get used to seeing and experiencing. He is quickly becoming a veritable influencer, a modern-day wizard, who injects lots of hope and much needed truths into the world.

Here’s a recent work of his depicting the #realreal of city life, specially selected for my fellow New Yorkers:

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“I’ve always thought that the race to reach/build/own the tallest building in the city had something of a “male organ” contest. It’s all about erecting the furthest into the air. I can’t draw a male erection so instead I’ll draw a proud & symbolic NASAL ERECTION.”
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(Left to right) Window Pane #1: “This is a very king of the castle kind of view. The one you want to wake up with every morning. For some reason doing it naked seems appropriate. Sort of like ‘I’m so powerful that i don’t have to wear pants…’ But you’d probably have to on the off chance that you have a less ambitious/more old-fashioned/prude/underaged/not as physically gifted neighbor who’d want to report you for indecency.                                                           Window Pane #2: “But it’s also a very ‘Movie Villain” kind of view, a typical Lex Luthoresque kind of view (if such a term exists– if not it should). Whenever I stumble in a room with such a baller view, I automatically walk to the window and put my hands behind my back & mumble something mischievous like “this is my city and soon they will understand and pay for their price of disobedience…’ but my rise to power pretty much stop there…”        Window Pane #3: “More realistically I feel that this is a more appropriate picture of what I’d look like if I ever end up living in a room with a view like that…An old disgruntled curmudgeon, bittered by a laborious life of hard work to get to the top of the world to only realize that you’re too old and saggy to pull that performance described two windows to your left.”

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Bises,

Soo