Urban Simplicity

Curated by Corey Davis
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"Weird, I don't get it. What are they thinking?! Cool. Ugly. Awesome. There's a message here." <br></br> Art I feel, should invoke responses as well as be seen by as many people as possible. Creating art is accomplished in many ways and different media. With all the technology, it is easy to acheive art as well as get it out into the world. Art for the masses is now possible and people who may never step into a working studio, gallery or art museum can now virtually tour the world of art simply by the click of a mouse. This has also enabled artists who otherwise would have trouble getting the exposure they desire. The internet has changed how artists can get word out as well as photos and videos of their work. <br></br> Art, too, has been transformed from stagnant displays to interactive intrepretations of color, form and even sound. Most art incorporates some of these elements in order to achieve responses. The new urban art that we are seeing so much of is innovative, bold, simple and complicated. It's not just about scenery, animals, Greek sculpture. It's our art. Now. It's youthful and in-your-face. It is not your parents' art. <br></br> Yamashita and Kobayashi. Joao Santos. Joseph Gray. As curator of my online show, I have chosen these three artists because I feel that they exemplify some of the latest urban art. To me urban art is art that is the art of the people. It is timely, but not pretentious. These pieces are thought-provoking, innovative, colorful, employ unique materials or common items, yet all contain interesting themes. They are edgy, but approachable. The world is their canvas and the viewer is drawn into the playful, yet sophisticated space these artists have created. Sound coupled with movement, scattered with color are all integral and common themes of the artists I wish to present. <br></br> Diversity is what makes the world work. The work of these artists is truly diverse and promises the viewers that they will see the ordinary in a new way. None of these artists show any timidity or meekness with their work. They are bold and forward thinking. <br></br> I have always preferred simple and minimalist artwork. Art, to me, should should command its own space, but involve the viewer as well. Art should also explore different ways of looking at things. These different styles of art put new twists on the ordinary and show different views of things that we often take for granted, yet alone take the time to think about. With so much going on in our busy world, it is refreshing to stand back and look at life through a creative eye. Words carry weight, but art shoulders the responsibility of taking the viewer on a visual journey that sometimes involves the rest of the senses. <br></br> All of the artists I have picked use simple themes. The complications or intricacies of the art are in the intrepretations as experienced by the viewer. You can read much more into these pieces or you can accept them simply at face value. Therein lies the theme. <br></br> The three (four) artists I have chosen use every day objects or themes and transform them into a thinking person's show. For example the Japanese team of Yamashita and Kobayashi, now living and working in Berlin (graduates of MFA Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) use ordinary objects in their art. They go beyond the normal observations, however, by making common objects into art- things that normally would go unobserved by most of us. <br></br> For example, I chose Yamashita and Kobayashi's organic exhibit which portrays the symbol of infinity. Instead of creating the path of infinity by drawing it or laying down material of some sort, they walk the path. Feet and earth literally become the mediums of this art exhibit. The path is created in a grassy field over a period of five days. Watching a path become a work of art through basically walking, running, stomping is a creative way to achieve the symbol. It's not an every day event to see a path become one. Yamashita and Kobayashi show this to us. The artists say, "Paths are made by walking. In order to determine whether the phrase was actually true, we kept running in a park for five days. In the fast-forward movie compiled from digital photographs taken one per second, a path ...gradually emerges..." Paths are often taken for granted when one is using it, but to see the work that goes into the path and the process of many footsteps, you could say footwork, involved is an original concept for a very ordinary, often overlooked, thing. In 2006 Yamashita and Kobayashi were finalists of the Japan Media Arts Festival, excellence award in the Art Division/Visual Image category. Asaba Katsumi, art division head jury says that "the entries for this category ...strike a good balance between technique level and artistic expression." He also states, "these works are converting advanced digital techniques gently and beautifully into analog; this may be the equation of modern media art." <br></br> Another artist I have decided to add to my exhibit is Joao Santos,who lives and works in the fast-growing, lively city of Dubai, Portugal. Santos' work displays a surreal almost chaotic plethora of light and colors. When viewing abstract/urban artwork, especially photography it is difficult to keep a variety of shots. This is especially true when photographing the same subjects while using the same techniques as usually what occurs is chaos and confusion. Yet with Santos art, the result is diverse and each piece is a unique statement of color, light and movement. All the photographs I have chosen are the lights from a city, but when looking at them from different, fresh points of view, they become something else entirely and the viewer has the pleasure of interpreting the art any way they choose. With the color and excitement of these pieces, 600 photos (High Resolution - from 4 to 12MB each) the viewers seem to forget that what they are seeing are things they see every day. Santos says this about his art, "A person can buy the latest car, residential property, or flashy hi- tech mobile, but it doesn't necessarily mean that he has improvbed his mind like art can." Through color and movement Santos shows the pulse of the city through its lights. "What's New Magazine," writer, Reshma Mehra, says "...in Dubai for just 14 months..his facination with Dubai's rapid-fire growth has led him on a photographic journey that delivers..." <br></br> The final artist I have added to my exhibit is Joseph Gray. A BFA graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Gray studied video and sculpture. He is a graphic designer and web developer. Gray creates a truly unique experience (from what we can see from the photograph) by "painting" three-dimensional paper surfaces with video projectors. The paper takes on a new, exciting form and begins to evolve with the addition of color. Gray cuts, folds and twists the paper is into shapes, dipping, curving and bending. He almost does a free form type of orgami. The paper when twisted and folded and bent holds a sculptural form on its own. Just the white paper itself is interesting to look at. But Gray takes it further with his projected images of color and movement. He uses three video projectors, software he has created and three computers to create his work. Gray says, "Light, Paper Sound is constructed of paper cut-outs folded and curved into three dimensional forms and suspended in the gallery space. The paper is used as a sculptural canvas..." Original music is then produced specifically for each sculpture. The result is a blend of jazz and video.The room in which the installation is placed transforms. Four walls become another world as the viewer travels beyond the museum into an almost underwater and alien world. Additionally the work of Gray is a multi-sensory exhibit where the viewer not only sees the art but hears it as well. The "Vroom Journal" of Seattle has this to say about Gray's work, "... the artist has built an environment that puts time back into time-based media arts. Once inside the installation, time stands still. The visual and aural completeness of this piece makes this effort an important seminal event for video installation in Seattle and points east and west." <br></br> Each one of these artists' work, I feel represent a fresh and new look at our world. Technology aside, most of these works can be created purely through basic means but not without creativity. All of these artists have taken a chance. A chance that they are too weird, too minimalist, too colorful, too loud. If these artists chose not to take a chance, none of these pieces could have come to life. Each of them stepped out of the box and found a place where we can be entertained, confused, delighted and most of all, think. Why, how, when? Click on a mouse and enter the world of art. You might find that you want to stay there a while.

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