Originally intending a solo show for Japanese artist Genichi Watanabe, curator Reno from Tokyo’s ISSO Art Gallery opened up her satellite exhibition a few months prior to the talents of 12 additional New York City artists. Reno contributes her change of heart to a novel desire to juxtapose Watanabe’s work with the visions of emerging local artists, as well as provide the latter group with a spotlight opportunity of their own. The exhibition name is thus no coincidence – “Boundary-less” evokes the merging of these multiple artists with a loose commonality based mostly on their creative ambition and harmonious spirit.
Standing alone, Watanabe’s works are striking examples of a colorful and quasi-abstract painterly form. The rest of the exhibit, however, welcomes a diversified range of means and materials, including three-dimensional sculpture, tapestries, and even faux fruit. Color diversions are also seen – Colleen Blackard’s “Small Cat” series of ballpoint pen on paper brings an almost necessary hushed tone to Watanabe’s splashy colors. Cultures blend and bend as well, as the artists’ varied backgrounds emerge side by side on Pleiades’ walls. Qinza Najm explores her own sundry identity as an Islamic-American through his religiously tinted mixed media on canvas artwork (coincidentally also offering a black and white contrast). Off canvas, Sophia Chizuco references her upbringing in the Japanese countryside as well as her femininity through installations such as Drop, which features organic materials like egg shells and rice paper. Further into the realm of other materials, L. Mylott Manning and Juliet Martin each brings their own interpretations of textile based sculptures, the former working with various threads in her begging-to-be-touched assemblage work Shitfaced and the latter blending handwoven and machine made fabric in the garment-wall hanging hybrid Fiber Grapes.
Housed amidst this potpourri of media and creative ethos, Watanabe’s more traditional oil paintings inevitably open themselves up to new interpretation and reimagining. The viewer is left to find his or her own meaning in the overlaps and disparities that arise, no doubt Reno’s true intentions all along.
“Boundary-less” is on view at Pleiades Gallery, 530 West 25th St., 4th floor, New York from December 1st to 26th, split over two openings on Thursday, December 3rd & Saturday, December 12th.
All 12 artists featured include Lisa Benson, Colleen Blackard, Sophia Chizuco, Pauline Galiana, Bernice Sokol Kramer, L. Mylott Manning, Juliet Martin, Jamie Martinez, Qinza Najm, Kenichi Nakajima, Lily Koto Olive, and Sophie Sejourne.
Boundary – less at Pleiades Gallery
Dec 1 – Dec 26, 2015
530 West 25th street, 4th Floor
Writing by Lisa Marsova