Jee is an Associate Buyer for Barneys New York’s Developing Ready to Wear Women’s program– she’s a devoted merchant, a strong woman, and has impeccable style even has she ventures into unfamiliar fashion-forward territory, she is an image of the fashion girl you might envision, as working in a place like B, always wearing the latest oversized sweater or over-long sleeved dress blouse. Jee and I developed a fun friendship due to our similar familial backgrounds and similar interests. We’re 2 years strong now, and I’m very happy to call her as a friend in my inner circle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anxiety Creeps in,
Too often we desperately seek to carry on a love stillborn.
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:
Beautiful and poignant, isn’t it?
Je joins aux présentes, à titre de rappel, un aide-mémoire présentant les engagements de Wys:
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.
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: