Traditional Japanese imagery collides with modern urban graffiti art and animation in Twilight Blush, the new exhibit of works by Japanese-American artist Gajin Fujita.
The exhibit opens with a reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 16th, at L.A. Louver, 45 Venice Blvd., Venice. The works remain on display through Saturday, December 30th.
Fujita’s intricate works reflect many cultural influences that range from the lush visuals of traditional Japanese tattoos, screen painting from the Edo period (1603 to 1867) and woodblock prints by ukiyo-e artists, to contemporary Japanese cartoons and hip-hop culture.
Within the works, Renaissance compositions coexist with Edo characters and graffiti, each of the elements having equal footing in the piece as a whole.
Both paintings and drawings juxtapose Japanese imagery such as geisha and samurai figures, fish and birds, rendered in luscious hues and stylized form. These figures are sometimes situated in Los Angeles landscapes, such as in “The Mack” and “Fatal Match,” or embedded in two-dimensional environments, such as in “Burn” and “Teen Spirit.” An element rendered in most of the paintings is the image of the moon — waxing, waning or in full form — that symbolically conjures the title of the exhibition.
Fujita makes his paintings by first applying either white gold, yellow gold or platinum leaf (or combinations of them) in patterned compositions onto prepared wood panels, according to L.A. Louver. Fujita then spraypaints graffiti over the boards, sometimes inviting former members of his graffiti crew to contribute tags and bombs.
Over the text Fujita creates compositions using acrylic paint, which he applies either freehand or using stencils. The stencils are most often fashioned by the artist, created from cut-out drawings he makes on paper. Fujita continues to work on the stencils, once the painting to which each is allied has been completed, giving them independent stature, according to L.A. Louver.
Twilight Blush includes a selection of these drawings that range in scale from “intimate to monumental,” according to the gallery.
Fujita received his formal training at Otis College of Art + Design, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he studied with Dave Hickey and graduated in 2000 with a MFA.
His work has been featured in group shows including Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism, Site Santa Fe’s Fourth International Biennial, 2001; Casino 2001, Stedelijk Museum; 2001 Outlook International Exhibition, Athens, 2003; and Populence, Blaffer Gallery, Houston, 2005.
Fujita was paired with Pablo Vargas Lugo in the exhibition Contemporary Projects 9 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last year and he has recently been honored with his first solo museum exhibition, entitled Zephyr: Paintings by Gajin Fujita, at the Kemper Museum ofContemporary Art in Kansas City.
Information, (310) 822-4955.