Tag Archive | SuperJail

Discovering the Art of Keiicha Tanaami: Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness

Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014
Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014, By Keiicha Tanaami (All Photos By Gail)

You never know what you will discover on a Saturday afternoon art crawl in the Chelsea Gallery District. What happens more than you can imagine is that Geoffrey I fall in love with the work of an artist who is new to us, despite them having a career that spans decades. Sometimes, that artist has already passed, and we have occasion to mourn a great loss at the same time that we are welcoming a lifetime of beautiful art into our own lives. Because when it comes to art, it is just impossible to know everything.

Detail from Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014
Detail from Dream Furor Colligendi

In this case, we stopped in to the Sikkema Jenkins & Co Gallery and were blown away by Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness; a wonderful collection of large scale, fantasy paintings by Japanese pop artist, Keiichi Tanaami, who is still creating new work at 80 years old. Wow!

Installation View
Detail from The Last Supper

To me, his work reminds me of a mash up of Takashi Murakami and the surreal, adult animated series Superjail. If you know what that means, great. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter.

Two in the Cloudy Sky, 2014
Two in the Cloudy Sky, 2014

You could stand in front of one of Tanaami’s canvases and talk about what you see until you run out of words.

Pleasure of the Mimicry, 2015
Pleasure of the Mimicry, 2015

With work this beautiful and thought provoking, I was not surprised to learn that he is one of the leading pop artists of postwar Japan, and has been active as multi-genre artist since the 1960s as a graphic designer, illustrator, video artist and fine artist. He was also the first art director of the Japanese edition of Playboy magazine!

The Last Supper, 2015
The Last Supper, 2015

Video Screen

There was also a video monitor (seen above) showing animated works, with one image morphing into the next — very cool!

Sadly, this exhibit, Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness, ended on the day of our visit, but you can learn more about the life and career of Keiicha Tanaami by visiting his Wikipedia page at This Link and see more images like these at Right Here!

Detail from The Last Supper, 2015
Detail from The Last Supper

Stefan Stux Gallery Presents Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy
All Photos By Gail

If you are a fan of Surrealism, Japanese Manga, human bio-mechanical mutants or warped and unfathomably violent animated shows such as Super Jail, then you might want to stop over at the Stux Gallery on West 25th Street to check out Japanese artist Akikazu Iwamoto’s new collection of fantasy paintings entitled Secret Candy.

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

According to the show’s press release by Lucy Li, “Akikazu creates wildly imaginative, candy-colored paintings and drawings that offer confronting, amusing and sometimes frightening revelations of our inflated inner desires in their most distilled state.”

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

Some of his paintings reminded me thematically of the wildly imaginative fantasy worlds of Dr. Suess’s Children’s Books.

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

It’s noteworthy that Akikazu was raised in Hiroshima (where he still lives), in a house just one kilometer away from the Atomic Bomb Dome. The images and artifacts of the Bomb affected him greatly during his childhood.

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

The main thrust for his artwork is a general deep-seated sense of wickedness that he believes to exists in every human psyche. Akikazu cites Maurice Utrillo, an early 20 th century painter of emotionally charged Parisian landscapes, as one of his notable inspirations. His works are also influenced by the ethereal colors he witnessed during a trip to Nepal as well as the works of American painter Aaron Johnson and Canadian Marcel Dzama.

Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

His visions take place in a comprehensive atmosphere free from the restrictions of reality, where violently mutated creatures, detached body parts and nondescript organic forms are rendered masterfully, contending an inherent connection between violence and innocence.

These paintings are all fairly large in size and look much cooler in person than in photographs. If Secret Candy seems like your thing I encourage you to visit this exhibit before it’s over, which is always sooner than you think.

Secret Candy By Akikazu Iwamoto will be on Exhibit only until October 12th, 2013 at Stefan Stux Gallery, Located at 530 West 25th Street, Ground Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Akikazu Iwamoto Secret Candy

Erik Parker's Bye Bye Babylon at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Erik Parker New Jekyll Island Club
New Jekyll Island Club By Erik Parker

Summer may be quickly fading away, but German-born artist Erik Parker has brilliantly immortalized the feeling of the endless summer in his new series of paintings, Bye Bye Babylon, up now at Paul Kasmin Gallery on 10th Avenue. On view  in the gallery are eleven of Parker’s 2012 still-life and jungle-landscape paintings, which all incorporate vibrant, fluorescent colors and fun, almost cartoonist shapes. Some of Parker’s images reminded me of the wildly hallucinatory animation on Adult Swim’s subversive series, SuperJail. If you’ve seen that show, and see Parker’s work in this exhibit, you will know what I mean by that comparison

Colombier Beach By Erik Parker Bye Bye Babylon
Colombier Beach

Updating these traditional art-historical genres through the pictorial idioms and sly humor of satirical cartoons, psychedelia and underground comic books, Parker’s paintings provide vistas into brilliantly colored worlds of semi-sentient flora and idiosyncratic geometries.

For Parker, creating the jungle paintings provides him with a way to escape into custom-made exotic locales without having to leave his Brooklyn studio.

Erik Parker New Bimini Trail

New Bimini Trail

He draws inspiration from the imaginary landscapes of Henri Rousseau — who never left his native France, and Joseph Yoakum — who mixed his memories of his own travels into his visualizations of unknown cities and countries. In Parker’s fantastical scenes, fleshy, claw-like leaves and snaking vines part to reveal panoramas of placid rivers and distant mountains.

Detail from New Bimini Trail Erik Parker Bye Bye Babylon at Paul Kasmin
Detail from New Bimini Trail

Lending a sense of tongue-in-cheek surrealism to Parker’s compositions, the leaves and vines cast unrealistic shadows onto the sea and sky behind them. Following the logic of cartoons and dreams, these jungle scenes and still-life paintings feel seductive and eerie; visually sensible but also askew.

Analog Babylon byErik Parker Bye Bye Babylon at Paul Kasmin
Analog Babylon

Trust me that photos cannot fully capture the intensely bright colors of these canvases. If you’re intrigued at all, do make it over to Paul Kasmin while the show is up.

Erik Parker’s Bye Bye Babylon will be on exhibit through October 13, 2012 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 293 Tenth Ave, Street Level, New York City. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Erik Parker Bye Bye Babylon Sign

Erik Parker Babylon Chatta

Babylon Chatta