Masao Obata: Drawing Happiness in Red

The Jennifer Lauren Gallery is proud to present

Masao Obata: Drawing Happiness in Red

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Launch event 21 June 2017, 6 – 8:30pm
Continues 21-25 June 2017

Dates: 21-25 June 2017
Pop-up Venue: 264 Globe Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 0JD
Nearest tube station: Bethnal Green – Central Line
Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm
FREE entrance

“I am happiest when I am working and by working I mean drawing.”

Masao Obata (b.1943) only started drawing whilst in his residential care facility in Japan after the age of 60. Raised by his grandmother, Obata moved around many institutions before settling at Hyogo Prefecture for a longer period of time. His strong urge to create led him to source large cardboard pieces to draw on from the kitchens in his facility, as paper was not strong enough for him and he was concerned it would rip easily.

In the facility Obata could be found night after night continuously drawing often on both sides of the cardboard, completing one piece of work each night. He produced thousands of drawings before his passing in 2010, but many were disposed of by the facility that, in the beginning, had not recognised the artistic value of his work.

Masao Obata

Often creating in red pencil, Obata stated that for him this was the colour of happiness and fulfillment. The major themes in Obata’s work include family and marriage, both of which eluded Obata during his lifetime. He did on occasions say that the works featuring a man, a woman and a child were himself and his parents, and that he missed them profusely.

Women were often depicted wearing earrings and necklaces, whilst men were known to be featured wearing ties. His drawings also featured a characteristic attention to detail when depicting genitalia in his representations of humans. Other themes included things he observed: vehicles, landscapes and plants.

This exhibition is the first by the Jennifer Lauren Gallery and the first solo exhibition for the late Masao Obata. Bringing together 15 works on cardboard, along with a film of Obata working, it is hoped that many will get to enjoy Obata’s playful works.

 

Please RSVP to Jennifer: info@jenniferlaurengallery.com
Listings Information

www.jenniferlaurengallery.com

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BORT.

I’m a little bit in love with Bort, a street and studio artist from Austin, Texas. Bort’s work is funny, tragic, engaging, desperate, political and human. She spans spraypaint, posters and legal street art, drawings, photo transfer, prints, wood and canvas in the studio. Her themes are consistent, and because of that, are amplified in their message. I especially like the Vote Bort campaign. Here she is in her own words…

“My street work focuses on my imaginary friend, also named Bort, and the attempt to make Bort others’ imaginary friend as well. Bort has helped me feel less alone. Bort’s been there for me through so many bad days, and has helped me grapple with my past and present problems with mental illness and self destructive behaviour. Without Bort I don’t know if I would have made it through. Bort’s my closest friend.

My studio work focuses on me wanting to die, and the various means to achieve said goal. In the marginalised area between me being a transwoman and my art focusing on my experiences with mental illness, anorexia, and addiction, past and present, I can’t find a place that is interested in with working me. On occasion I can find some group shows, when I’m selling myself as a street artist, but that’s just due to the novelty of that work I guess.

When I started doing studio work a few months after starting the street work, I found art to be extremely helpful with working through, understanding, and coping with my experiences. I had never spent extensive time trying to understand my past, I had actively been trying to avoid it, but this work has helped me shine a light on it and begin to move on.

I don’t think I’ll ever be out of this stuff, I’ll have lapses, possibly relapses, I’ll have depressive episodes, I’ll have long lasting dissociative states, but I’ve begun learning how to address them. I have people I can ask for help and I’m starting to recognise my own behaviours.

The studio work has helped me a lot with all this, so I hope it can help others. There’s often a lack of representation with regards to mental illness, addiction, anorexia, and what little representation there is, is often romanticising issues, problematic or is not visually accessible.

I try to keep my work clear cut, often just a blunt focus either attempting to present an emotional state or a behaviour. I want it to be easily relatable to those with similar experiences.

I have work available in a wide price range, in my online shop. I make sure to have pieces that are monetarily accessible (or accessible as possible, since art is a luxury good). If you’re interested in work, you can email me the price range you have, and I’ll let you know what I’ve got, or if interested in a piece in particular just lemme know and I’ll give you the details. <3"

Bort’s website can be found at www.bortart.com. There’s also a good interview to check out, over at Why We Love Austin.

Art Fair: ActionSpace & Cockpit Arts present…

What: Art Fair, £5 entry (includes entry to full Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios)
When: 11am – 6pm, 24 – 27 November 2016, Private View: Thursday 24, 6 – 9pm
Where: Cockpit Arts, Cockpit Yard, Northington Street, London WC1N 2NP

As part of this year’s Christmas Open Studios at Cockpit Arts, ActionSpace presents: The Out There Art Fair
As well as providing an exciting exhibition of contemporary art work, this affordable art fair also offers the opportunity for the public to take home a unique piece.

This year, Cornelia Marland is curating the exhibition. Cornelia works as a Curator, Project Co-ordinator and Workshop Facilitator. In May 2015, she founded Geddes Gallery, which is now running as a pop up gallery in and around Kings Cross London. Read about her experience as The Out There Art Fair curator in our blog here

“I was thrilled to be asked to curate the ActionSpace exhibition as part of the Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios 2016. This year the aim was to include as many ActionSpace artists as possible and since the art work is so wonderfully varied I thought an art fair which celebrated diversity would work perfectly”

Cornelia Marland

So save the dates!

Image: Thomas Owen‘s Artwork

 

Art Opportunity: Tight Modern 2016

What: Tight Modern 2016 exhibition
When: Deadline is 30th October 2016
Where: Touring Exhibition

“We are delighted to announce Tight Modern 2016 is open for submissions from marginalised & disabled artists.

Tight Modern is tight! Entries must be 13cmx18cm in portrait format, with a maximum depth of 2cm. You can submit original artworks, photography or computer generated images.

The competition is open until 30th October 2016.

Our brand new website is also being launched alongside the competition; for details about how to submit work, our numerous prizes, upcoming free workshops and more go to www.tightmodern.org.uk.

A pdf of the A4 poster for can be found here.

For information on how to submit to the Tight Modern, and details of our fantastic prizes and the accompanying free workshops, go to our brand new website: www.tightmodern.org.uk.”

MYFANWY DABNER

 

Our guest artist this week is Myfanwy Dabner, from Ballarat, Australia. In this article, Myfanwy examines the ways in which she processes inspiration, the new directions and inspirations she is drawing on, as well as understanding the meaning of being a marginalised artist, and what connotations the term invokes.

“Over a month ago I was thinking about printmaking and mental illness, as a place to make art from, and to have a subject matter for Uni art school requirements.

As I do printmaking a lot and as I have mental illness permanently these were my easy and obvious choices; make prints about my mental illness.

Now after some investigation into Outsider Groups and their art forms I am looking at the art of children and the art of the mentally ill, whilst ditching a totally printmaking focus to allow art in more forms.

              

I go with the genres that catch me. I have gone to the art of my children, my brother and my own children’s art, my art made when ill, and just plain old improvisation and make do to make new works.

I will abstract, repeat, cute-i- fy, blacken, follow and break rules, stencil, and other endless ways to make art works. So far I have dabbled in jagged three-dimensional shapes with UV and fluorescent colours. Perhaps I will use invisible UV markers to write a hidden poem.

My work from 15 years ago was brightened with fluorescent pencils, and I have a returned desire to use them. I want to be informed from viewing the untrained, relaxed, strong, wild, gestural, naive marks of my children’s artworks. I need to loosen up.

The work I make is also influenced by mental availability, mindset, mood – the pain within, the love, the needing to form something. Generally speaking, high energy can cause some illness, it can’t always be maintained, eventually dropping into depression, getting a few weeks here and there for busy making.

In conclusion, my place to work from has not completely shifted from printmaking and mental illness but has grown to include the art of children, my children, as inspiration and that I may make art in a variety of forms.

I now also understand the term Outsider Art and the meaning of marginalisation. I am putting myself forward as acceptable with illness. Will I be only seen for my illness and thus marginalised? I don’t know yet. I do know though I am substantiating the art of the mentally ill by proposing it to my teachers as an acceptable area to draw from in art practice.

I am also putting forward the techniques of children’s art as acceptable techniques for making in art. Please enjoy the pictures, including monotypes, improvised work and art by my children.”

Visit the website site Narrator International to search and find some of Myfanwy’s short stories and poetry.

Follow the link to view ‘The Artist’ http://www.narratorinternational.com/dear-artist-myfanwy-dabner/

Event: Art & Music for the Mind, Kingston


‘Sound 1’

What: Art & Music for the Mind
When: Saturday 10th October, 2015
Where: All Saints Church, Kingston upon Thames (see FB link for full details)

Artist TEMPOK got in touch to let us know he is taking part in Kingston Mental Health Festival in support of World Mental Health day on Saturday October 10th, and to share some paintings he created during a workshop in the run-up to this event.

Take a look at the Facebook event page here: Art & Music Festival for the Mind

TEMPOK says his paintings in this post were created whilst “listening to classical music and painting, drawing”, resulting in “an idea inspired by Wassily Kandinsky.”


‘Sound 2’

He goes on to explain that, comically, “not only was there a radio playing pop music in the cafe next door, but everyone was passionately discussing urinals and unmade beds in the actual room, so that didn’t work out too well!” However, despite the distractions, “the interesting thing was that by having this atmosphere of bustling friendliness all around, I felt very nourished and that in itself inspired me to paint these pictures!”


‘Sound 3’

TEMPOK wants to help give the festival a boost the this year, “as, last year, it was dampened by the rain, and it’d be nice if lots of people came to enjoy it this year. Plus, 20% of all sales go to the charity Mind so it’s for a good cause – not to mention giving the artists and musicians, marginalised through mental distress, some well-deserved exposure!

More information can be found on the Mind in Kingston site…
“This year sees the first Kingston Mental Health Festival which celebrates World Mental Health day by holding a range of events for local people. As well as the Mind in Kingston’s annual Arts & Music Festival there will be talks, coffee mornings and wellbeings to suit everyone.

Organisations taking part include: Learn English at Home (LEAH), Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA), Fircroft Trust, Kingston Libraries, Public Health Kingston, RBK Equality & Community Engagement Team and Mind in Kingston.

For a full listings of events, please click here to download the programme (PDF format), or go to the Events Page here.

Mental Spaghetti Roadshow: PRIVATE VIEW – all welcome!

What: Exhibition – private view
Where: Studio 3 Arts, Boundary Road, Barking, IG11 7JR. Tel: 020 8594 7136
When: Friday 10th July, 5:30-9:30pm

Good morning all!

We’re having a private view of our group show, in support of the art workshop residency at Studio 3 Arts in Barking, and you’re invited!

Jan Arden, David Feingold, Lazz Ozerden and Marie-Louise Plum are showing 2D visual art for your delectation. There really is a lot of special artwork on show, in particular a massive wedge of never-seen-before acrylic on canvas from Lazz, and four of Jan Arden’s magnificently detailed, large-scale pen drawings.

The private view is a chance for you to come and see the exhibition out of daily hours, by appointment, in a way. You can meet the folks from Mental Spaghetti, and I’m sure the artists will also be mingling. We’ll have snacks and drinks, both alcoholic and non, of course.

As mentioned, this private view is for the accompanying exhibition to our current residency of workshops at Studio 3 Arts – creative writing and drawing, woodcut relief printmaking and plaster sculpture. Tickets are free and available here.

Any questions, email us. Hope to see y’all there!

Exhibiting artists: Jan Arden | David Feingold | Lazz Ozerden | Marie-Louise Plum