Geoffrey and I went out on an ambitious urban art crawl yesterday and saw many amazing things. One of our many pit stops included Future Primitive, new works by Tokyo-based artist Haroshi on exhibit now at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. This is the artist’s debut solo exhibition in the United States and first solo gallery show outside of Japan. In Future Primitive, Haroshi introduces unique, full-scale, three-dimensional, wooden sculptures made from used skateboard decks – all inspired by the city of New York. Haroshi’s work reflects his unique perspective as a artist of Japanese heritage and a passionate skater from his early teens to present, in that his technical approach to sculpture combines the influence of time-honored traditional methods of his homeland with the spirit of innovation and technology inherent in its contemporary culture. Hiroshi’s meticulous process and unusual medium create sculptures that are truly beautiful and not like anything else you will see in a NYC art gallery.
Moose Head and Fire Hydrant
As a medium, skate decks differ from natural wood in that they are a processed material. Their size, shape and contours vary according to manufacturing brand and model. With his personal experience and vast knowledge, Haroshi is able to determine which skateboards fit together seamlessly. After a careful selection process, Haroshi stacks his chosen decks into layers, cuts mosaic pieces, assembles them into a desired shape and meticulously carves each form by hand with skilled precision.
He achieves a colorful, striped pattern by stacking the boards with keen attention to the exposed rails (outer edges) rather than applying paint. Haroshi occasionally incorporates naturally broken boards in their original shattered form, creating textural contrast between smooth silhouette and splintered, raw edge. He also re-purposes discarded grip tape as a tool to sand and finish the surface before applying a final seal.
Recently commissioned by NIKE CEO Mark Parker, Haroshi re-created a pair of SB Dunk sneakers (above) with incredible detail and accuracy, made from decks used by several different NIKE pro-skaters. This work is be featured in the Future Primitive exhibit.
Future Primitive runs through May 14, 2011 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery, located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor (West of 10th Avenue) in New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
“Peaco Is Shy” (My Ugly Doll Peaco Especially Enjoyed This Piece) Photo by Geoffrey Dicker