Oct 9, 2014
Based in Nagano, Japan, Hikari Shimoda
first studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before beginning her career as a contemporary artist in 2008. Soon afterward, Shimoda was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo, and since then has held exhibitions annually in galleries worldwide, spanning Japan, the United States, Canada, and Milano, Italy. Shimoda’s artwork paints a world where cuteness and horror coexist, and fantasy meets reality. She credits the Japanese pop culture she grew up with as the main source of inspiration of her Lowbrow “Irasuto” style, which means artwork made by people inspired by anime and manga. There are often children putting on heroic costumes such as Superman and “shojo” or magical girls, an anime sub-genre of young girls who use magic. Through depicting children especially, Shimoda reveals the problems people in today’s society struggle with from within. Children possess a simple existence because their identity is ambiguous which provides her with an original point of view. In her “Whereabouts of God” portrait series of other-worldly horned children, she also comments on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as savior of humanity and mirror of our fantasy heroes. These characters not only represent heroism but an adult desire to watch our children grow and defend the world we have constructed. With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.
Oct 7, 2014
With a practice that includes photographs, found objects, text, video-projection and sculpture, Matt Sheridan Smith
manipulates a variety of mediums to address notions of authorship, the readymade, originality, and value. Considering the value of artist's labor, its relevance within a historical context, means of self-portraiture, and the precarious relationships between language, objects and representation, Smith employs ready-made, standardized or prescribed material to reveal the poetic effects of seemingly banal content, technologies, or conventions. As a platform for critical discourse, his practice is specifically designed for the fluid exchange of ideas between artist and viewer, viewer and art. In The Front Room, Smith presents a new suite of text paintings and sculptures derived from a game in Julio Cortazar's 1963 novel Hopscotch, in which characters join the dictionary definitions of two homonyms using a conjunction such as “isn't that.” Creating a false equivalence through proximity and a set of found poetry, these generative texts seek simultaneously to objectify the original word and force it to disappear in the face of its meaning. In presenting these texts–one from the novel and one by Smith–with a series of sculptural analogs and correspondences that give no indication as to which came first, Smith complicates the relationships between text and illustration, object and caption. (via Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis