Friday, January 28, 2011

Artist Talk with Tyler Starr

I spent a good day with Tokyo artist Tyler Starr today, showing him some of the architecture and history of Seattle's neighborhoods.  I also had a chance to preview some of the images he will use to illustrate his talk at the gallery tomorrow afternoon.  Looks to be a very interesting presentation.  Please join us at Cullom Gallery tomorrow, 1/29, at 1 pm for this rare chance to meet Tyler and hear more about his observations of historic and contemporary events in Tokyo that shape his work.  

Artist Talk with Tyler Starr
Saturday, January 29, 2011, 1 pm
Cullom Gallery
603 S Main Street
Seattle, WA  98104
This is a free event and open to the public.

Tyler Starr at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle

Tyler Starr at Kerry Park, Seattle

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Opening with Richard Heisler

Some photos of Opening night of Richard Heisler | Tyler Starr: Tokyo Paintings & Mixed Media Works.  We had a great turn out, though by the time I thought to grab the camera, things had mellowed to a nice hum.  Thanks to everyone who came out to make it a special night! 

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, January 29th, at 1 pm, when Cullom Gallery will also host an artist talk with Tokyo-based artist, Tyler Starr.  Starr will be in Seattle to talk about his work hanging in the current show from the series, Attempted Fixes and the Wallowing Series, as well as recent work from his doctoral program final exhibition at Tokyo University of Fine Arts. This is a free event and open to the public.  I hope to see you at the gallery on Saturday!

Richard with Ginza # 5 from 100 Views of Tokyo

Richard and Mom

Cullom Gallery Opening Night

Ginza #3 (left) & Akihabara #2 (right)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Richard Heisler | Tyler Star Opens Tonight, 6 to 8 pm

Top: Tyler Starr.  Attempted Fix: Phantom Recovery.  Mixed media with ganpi paper, gouache, and pencil on paper.  Bottom: Richard Heisler.  Roppongi #1.  Mixed media on panel.
 If you are in Seattle tonight, stop by the gallery from 6 to 8 pm for the opening party and reception for the new exhibit: Richard Heisler | Tyler Starr: Tokyo Paintings & Mixed Media Works.  Below is the press release for the show.  I hope to see you tonight!

Richard Heisler | Tyler Starr: Tokyo Paintings & Mixed Media Works
January 21 - February 26, 2011
Opening Reception with Richard Heisler, Friday, January 21, 6 to 8 pm
Artist Talk with Tyler Starr, Saturday, January 29, 1 pmBoth events are free and open to the public.

Two American artists consider contemporary views and events within Tokyo's urban neighborhoods.  Seattle artist, Richard Heisler's photorealist paintings from his ongoing series, One Hundred Views of Tokyo, quietly reference the landmark 19th century woodblock prints, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858).  Selections from two of Tokyo artist, Tyler Starr's mixed media series, The Wallowing Series and Attempted Fixes, look at political, military, and municipal constructions and events in present-day Tokyo.

Heisler's dense paintings contrast with the vast empty spaces of Starr's mixed media works, yet the meticulous requirements of both artists' chosen technical approaches lead to a similar close focus on their subject. Heisler's precisely chosen layers of color and perfect lines are carefully laid in over many months; Starr applies intricatly cut layers of thin, decoupaged ganpi paper, gouache paint, and tight graphite details.  The artists' labor-intensive media draw the colors, angles, and real events of Tokyo into a sharper focus.

Richard Heisler was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1973.  He was a student at Seattle Central Community College and Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA.  Heisler is represented by Cullom Gallery as well as Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts, Binghamton, NY; MA Doran Gallery, Tulsa OK; and Galerie Persterer, Zurich, Switzerland.  His paintings have been shown in numerous solo and jurried group exhibits including the 2008 Biennial National Exhibiton, La Grange Museum of Art, LaGrange, GA; the 2008 Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Realism, Ft. Wayne Museum of Art, Ft. Wayne, IN; the CPSA Explore This 5 Exhibition, where he received the Award for Excellence; and solo exhibits at Anthony Brunelli Gallery, Binghamton, NY.  Heisler's paintings have also been featured multiple times in Southwest Art Magazine.

Tyler Starr was born in 1974 and lived in Connetiticut, Rhode Island, and Minnesota before moving to Tokyo several years ago.  In 1999, Starr was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow, Poland.  He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.  He is currently a PHD candidate at the Tokyo National Univerisity of Fine Arts, Ueno, Japan.  His work has been featured in numerous solo exhibits and jurried biennials, most recently, the International Biennial of Contemporary Prints, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Liège, Belgium; the 2nd Bangkok Triennale International Print and Drawing Exhibition, Excellence Prize,PSG Art Gallery, Silpakorn University, Bangkok Thailand; and Tokyo Wonderwall 2009, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Japan.  His work is in the permanant collections of the Corcoran Museum, Washington, DC; Univerisity of Connecticut; and Pozan Museum of Fine Arts, Poland.

For more information please contact Beth Cullom, Cullom Gallery, 206-340-8000,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yoshitoshi Tonight

If you are in Seattle tonight, Cullom Gallery is open late for the First Thursday Gallery Walk.  The exhibit Yoshitoshi Monogatari: Tales of a Grand Past & Uncertain Future is up through January 15th. 

The word and concept of monogatari in Japanese literature is fairly commonplace, though it's not a word tossed around much in the West.  Some may be familiar with it as part of the title of the famous and original novel, Genji Monogatari, or The Tales of Genji, written by the great Heian Period poet and novelist, Lady Murasaki (c. 973–c. 1014 or 1025)A monogatari is basically a literary form for fictionalized versions of epic Japanese stories.  My use in the title for this show, I hope, serves to frame the historical and mythical woodblock prints of Japan's last great ukiyo-e artist, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), as the artist's own artistic spin on the legends and tales of Japan's grand past, which as a body of work produced at it's particular time, also served as a cultural tether for a nation embroiled in the upheaval of the rapidly changing and culturally unsettling Meiji Period (1868-1912).

Lunacy, from One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 1889
Yoshitoshi's short life of fifty-three years coincided with five decades of the most dramatic and raid cultural change theretofore experienced by Japan and its people.  A young man in the waning years of the Edo Period (1615-1868) Yoshitoshi witnessed the fall of his government's self-enforced period of isolation, and by all accounts, anxiously considered the flood of Western invention, ideas, and institutions that made quick inroads into Japanese society with the transfer of power from the dynastic Tokugawa Shogunate to the pro-west Emperor Meiji.  For Yoshitoshi this official drive to modernize and westernize threatened the very fiber of his nation's identity.  He responded with ukiyo-e designs that on the surface recount ancient folktales, heroic legends, and epic battles, but on a deeper level, are a cultural touchstone for a nation, he felt, in danger of forgetting its past. 

Ushiwaka (Yoshitsune) and Benkei duelling on Gojo Bridge, 1881
Okubo Tadanori rescuing Tokugawa Ieyasu on the battlefield, from Twenty-four accomplishments in Imperial Japan, 1881
Chang Fei on Chohan Bridge glares back at the multitude of soldiers, from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 1885

I also wonder, though I have not teased out proof it it, if the  historic themes in the prints of the later part of his life also contain Yoshitoshi's own veiled commentary on the political events of the Meiji Period, rife with its own power struggles and insurrections.  For me, considered en masse, Yoshitoshi's historic ukiyo-e read like a visual monogatari, telling a Meiji-era rendition of Japan's ancient beginnings.  This exhibit includes 19 single sheet prints, diptychs, and triptychs from some of the artist's best-known series, including Yoshitoshi's Courageous Warriors, New Selections of Eastern Brocade Pictures, Mirror of Famous Commanders of Great Japan, Twenty-Four Accomplishments in Imperial Japan, New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts.  I hope to see many of you here.