My show Matter on Ground opened at SoFo yesterday, Saturday 9/9/23. I thank Parrish Art Museum for inviting me for this year’s Road Show, their annual off-site exhibition. And I also thank SoFo for hosting this show on their ground. The show is up till October 10, 2023.
PARRISH ROAD SHOW 2023
MATTER ON GROUND
September 9 to October 10, 2023
South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center
377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY 11932
For the 2023 Parrish Road Show, Hiroyuki Hamada (Japanese, born 1968) was invited to create a site-specific exhibition at the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center in Bridgehampton, NY. Now in its twelfth year, Parrish Road Show is the Museum’s off-site project designed to encourage engagement and interaction between artists and the communities beyond the Museum’s walls. Each year, selected artists work with the Parrish and partner venues to create new work and to provide unique opportunities for visitors to see and experience art in unexpected places, from public parks and highways to historical sites and community centers.
Our presence on the planet is a minuscule phenomenon before countless galaxies and an infinite time span. From such a standpoint, nature is undoubtedly an existential matter to us. We, the artists do operate within the social formation, fully subjected to the imperatives of our time and space, but just as nature often defies human attempts to contain and domesticate, art does reach out beyond the social framework in addressing what it is to be human.
I think there is a parallel between nature and art if we position both in the framework of our social formation. We might not generally regard nature as having much to do with social imperatives compared with the legal codes, political environment, and prevalent beliefs among us. But if we see our species from a larger perspective of the geological timeframe, for example, nature does guide us in essential ways. And art does have the potential to reflect where we all come from: nature.
I have worked in my studio for the last three decades or so as an artist. My pursuit in two-dimensional surfaces has turned to three-dimensional ones. The materials have shifted from charcoal and paper, paint and panel, plaster, resin and so on and so forth. I’ve worked with venues of varying sizes and shapes with varying missions in different places. But this is my first attempt in making works intended for an exhibition in an open space with the sky as a ceiling and the ground as a floor. How does the work look under the natural light with the wind, the rain, the smell of soil and plants, the presence of animals, or under the moonlight?
To me, making a work involves intimate observations and intense dialogues with the elements involved. When matter collides with matter, unexpected things happen, and the dialogue becomes a part of the structure. In the process, I strive to capture the mystery and the essence of the unknown in recognizable and meaningful ways. I attempt to feel what is in front of me as the material for expressing what is not obvious in our daily routines in the social framework.
Nature operates according to its own rules and the material tendencies and realities of a given environment. It does not follow our beliefs, norms, and values in manifesting what it manifests. In that sense, my practice always has been about finding some sort of connection to the process of nature. This opportunity to work with the open space at SoFo is certainly a relevant one which I approach with seriousness and excitement.
Parrish Road Show 2023: Matter on Ground is organized by Kaitlin Halloran, Assistant Curator and Publications Coordinator, and Brianna L. Hernández, Assistant Curator, with support from Corinne Erni, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator of Art and Education and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the generous support of Jane Wesman and Donald Savelson. Public Funding provided by Suffolk County.Opening reception at SOFO: September 9, 2023 at 3pm
Guided Outdoor Sculpture Tour at SOFO: September 16, 2023 at 1pm
Artist Talk at Parrish Art Museum: September 29, 2023 at 6pm
Closing: October 10, 2023
Parrish Art Museum site: https://parrishart.org/exhibitions/road-show-2023/
The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center site: https://sofo.org/calendar/hiroyuki-hamada-─-2023-parrish-art-museum-road-show-artist-at-sofo─-guided-outdoor-sculpture-tour-with-hamada/
Here is a second set of photos from lucent, a traveling group show of small works curated by David Quinn. I know that these images hardly do justice to the raw immediacy emanating from the work. In fact, as soon as I walked into the venue I realized that the reason why we spend so much effort in putting up a show like this is that experiencing the work in person is the only way to actually feel the direct impact of the pieces. The show covers over 50 works by 11 artists spanning two floors of the beautiful art venue.
Here are some images from lucent: a traveling group show of small works curated by David Quinn. The first show has opened at UillInn: West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen, Ireland. The show focuses on indescribable poetic qualities emanating from each piece. The works require you to gently approach them as if to approach a delicate small insect or a flower and examine carefully to let the light reveal the rich surfaces and intricacies; by doing so you enter into special dialogues with the elusive yet undeniably tangible presence of the works. David has done a great job selecting the artists. His curatorial decisions are masterful. This is probably my favorite group show I’ve ever been part of, and it was great to meet some of the participating artists in Ireland. I would like to thank the director of the Arts Centre Ann Davoren for welcoming us with generous support. The natural beauty of Ireland was overwhelming. It was such a dreamy week being there.
From West Cork Art Center website:
29 July to 9 September 2023
lucent is an exhibition of small works curated by artist David Quinn, involving twelve international artists – Charles Brady (Ire), Niamh Clarke (NI), Vincent Hawkins (UK), Hiroyumi Hamada (JN), Tjibbe Hooghiemstra (NL), Jamie Mills (UK), Janet Mullarney (Ire), Helen O’Leary (Ire), David Quinn (Ire), Seamus Quinn (Ire), Sean Sullivan (US) and John Van Oers (BE). The exhibition runs across both galleries at Uillinn from 29 July to 9 September.
‘Although I have curated quite a few exhibitions, I am first and foremost an artist and not a curator. This exhibition is a very personal project. The work I have included is by artists whose work and progress I am always keen to see. I think there is a lot of truth in Robert Motherwell’s quote ‘every intelligent painter carries the whole culture of modern painting in his head. It is his real subject, of which everything he paints is both a homage and critique.’ To a greater or lesser extent, the artists in this exhibition have been inspirational to me or sometimes it is just as Emerson said ‘in every work of genius we recognise our own rejected thoughts’.
One of the common threads through the work of these artists for me is a sensitivity for materials and for the quality of line. Most of the artists here also blur the distinction between painting and sculpture. Their sculptures can be quite painterly and there is a subtle tactile element even to the works on paper. The other thing that interests me is that it is often hard to pin down exactly what the works are about (if that is what one is inclined to do). There is an inherent ambiguity in lots of the work, a vague open-endedness. Also the scale that these artists often work on is intimate and personal. The works are memorable rather than monumental, suggestive rather than didactic, playful rather than strict. Where there is order it is often subverted and generally an air of gentle irreverence. Ultimately though the thing that draws these works together for me is that I find them beautiful.’
David Quinn, 2022b
lucent is supported by an Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon Touring Award and will tour to Highlanes Gallery Drogheda (February to April) and Wexford Arts Centre (June to August) in 2024.
Here are a couple of pieces in progress. I haven’t really made any piece that’s meant for outside, although the thought of it has been with me for awhile. I like the idea of outdoor elements being part of the dynamics. I like the idea of putting the work where it can be seen by people who generally don’t go out to see art. These two pieces will be in an outdoor show which will open this fall.
Last month, after a series of parts failures, despite many attempts to save it, my Piezography printer died. As a result, I have ended open edition printing of my prints. All the existing prints in various sizes are now limited edition prints. Edition sizes are noted for each print in each size at the Print section of my site. For those who have the prints and are interested in receiving an affidavit stating the edition number as a limited edition print, please DM me.
It’s been 8 years since I learned how to print with the unique method developed by Cone Editions Press. The system worked very well in producing reliable and superb results. Having my own facility ensured creating multiples from beginning to finish without any compromise. There is something so lively, immediate and tactile about how the ink hits the paper when all elements sing a song in a harmony.
Although there won’t be any more editions printed, the existing ones will be available as limited edition prints. Five of them will be in a traveling show this summer.
We just took a family trip to Japan. It was quite overwhelming—catching up with an old friend, spending time with my family, making new friends, visiting breathtakingly beautiful places, enjoying exceptional food culture. Now I’m back home being greeted by new pieces in progress. The fruit trees which I planted last year are growing, showing the unstoppable cycle of life around me.
It’s crazy that all the things we cherish fall into right places more or less when we know that things could go wrong in so many ways. Nothing could be planned to be the way they turn out, but we do find things to be miraculously wonderful sometimes. That’s how I want to work in the studio too.
#74, 24 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ x 57, painted resin, 2011-13
Here are three pieces recently added to my site in sculpture section under 1995-2005.
I wonder if I will ever see these pieces in person again. Seeing older pieces can be an odd experience. It’s like meeting an old friend but the friend hasn’t aged at all; I meet the presence just as I remember. It’s as if time and space don’t exist where they live.
I didn’t grow up surrounded by art. I was really into making plastic model kits, drawing comic book characters or just making things in general as a kid. But I didn’t really know visual art as a potent social institution. I had to be exposed to art in front of my eyes. I took an art class when I was attending community college. The teacher showed me his paintings and drawings, demonstrating that marks on paper can do what sounds can do with music. This was eyeopening for me. I was captivated by this phenomenon. So from the very beginning, my interest centered around capturing this mysterious quality that somehow moves me.
So it’s probably not a coincidence that I stuck with simpler forms without recognizable representations. I wanted to capture this mysterious thing, not to represent a concrete idea with symbols or narratives. I wanted to be struck directly with this something. The works I did around that time are heavily guided by this idea.
These two pieces show my typical ways of mark making at the time and later time as well. One is circular forms made by electric drills with spade bits. I like the contrast of precise circles and how they meet with the materials to express the physicality. Second is the use of homemade encaustic paint applied to express textures and tones of the surface. The paint is also used to express structural dynamics with lines, shapes, contrasts and so on.
I asked my wife what I should write to go with this post. She jokingly said that I should write about why I make such weird images. I don’t know the answer to be honest. But I think things are weird. We stay in our routines, we observe rules, ideas, myths and beliefs flooding out of big corporate entities to remain “good citizens” of “democratic countries”. But when we take one step outside and look in, we see people hurting each other for nothing, people following ridiculous rules and people being forced to play clowns in a circus only to keep up with the status quo. People pay prices to stay in these invisible cages. The cages distort the bodies, the faces, the minds and the souls. The rosy promises and slogans are conditional, propping up the hierarchy governed by money and violence. Weird to see things upside down. Weird to see people sleeping on streets when rich people have many houses. Weird to see more money spent on bombs than healthcare, housing, and food for the people. Needless to say these things aren’t just weird, they are brutal and upsetting. So there is that. But when I work, I try to empty my head to feel visual elements for what they are, and let them speak; surely weird things come out, but profoundly fascinating things happen among them too, just as in real life. Perhaps it is a practice to find potentials among elements when they can interact on their own accord. Maybe they are like how life can be. Anyway, I’m posting because I just added 6 recent paintings of mine to my site. They are under Painting. You can see multiple views and details for each piece.
I’ve been working on new sculptures. The next set of pieces will be sculptures.
6 of my recent sculptures have been added to my site. They are in the Sculpture section under 2020-current. You can see alternate views and details for each piece.
Despite the grim nature of the ongoing social restructuring for more disparity, more authoritarianism, more commodification, more financializing, and more propagandizing, I must say I was relatively prolific for the past two years. Perhaps I was forced to face my source of creativity and imagination more as the predicaments increased a sense alienation. I was perhaps yearning for a solid ground to stand on; to me, this is often my studio and my work. On the other hand, I have also met new friends as my social network shifted, and I also renewed my appreciation for people who have been helping me all these years. I am looking forward to facing what life brings to me.