May 8, 2011

"It's a secret we already know"

Sketch for photograph (left) and noren/door curtain (right) to be included in the 
group exhibition  Telephone at the Torrance Art Museum, later this month.
The premise of the exhibition- each artist nominates another artist of the opposite gender living in SoCal to participate in the exhibition until 40 artists are in the lineup. My good friend Asher Hartman nominated yours truly, and I had the awesome pleasure of nominating my old friend from my USC days Patrick Strand. For the catalogue we were asked to write a little something about why we chose who we chose and below is the text Asher so graciously wrote. Thank you Ash! And below that is what I wrote about Patrick. 

"I chose Haruko Tanaka because she dares to open the question of spirit in life in her work, because she shows me the beauty in the mundane, in the quiet ways in which we literally fold the immaterial into the material of daily life. When I look at her work, I travel from the shamanic origins of tribal culture into the present, where the residual dream remains. I love her poetry, her exactness, her celebration of fleeting experience—a whistle, the feeling of expectation we have parting the curtains of a soba shop, the tense inhalation a person alone feels glancing out a window in the “Big City,” the nonsense of a rhyme that catches on an imagined childhood which somehow finds its way back to a shared cultural memory, even when the memory and the culture are far away.  Her installations cut out all but the instant of recollection in signs that manage to return us to the dizzying loci of the would-be global citizen. In them, I feel displaced and not yet gone, the sense of what it is like to carry cultural memories in the body and the body alone. The tongue and the heart are the home, and when that body is done, these memories somehow find their way out into the landscape of consciousness from which they were drawn and to which they will always return.  There are travel lessons here, a means of coping with global changes that separate us from the land. There is no land, only moment, and yet that moment is not the original moment in Tanaka’s work. It’s a secret that we already know." - Asher Hartman, April 24, 2011

"Patrick and I first talked while sitting across from each other in the sculpture studio at USC. Kind of crazy to think we were just wee teenagers then. In the midst of beginning intro art classes, Patrick had a focus and fever I was sure was ignited from a past life. Back then his uniform was a blue dickie's jumpsuit and his latest system for working was oil sticks and ice cube trays. With a Basquiat biography in hand, one day before class, he was super jazzed to share that he had been blown away reading about the quality of Basquait's work in terms of music, and that he, wanted his artwork to be like the Temptations. As you stand in front of his artwork today, and if you happen to meet him, he might look super young and unassuming, but he's been at this non-stop for almost two decades now (in this lifetime!). May his artistic journey be as long and prosperous as the Temptations!" - Haruko Tanaka, May 1, 2011