Tyler Starr "Wallowing Series"

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poster for Tyler Starr "Wallowing Series"

This event has ended.

The work of American artist Tyler Starr, born in 1974, explores symbolic scenes from the 1960s and 70s, offering a view analogous to that in the rearview mirror of a car - images of police and unruly crowds, crashed US air force jets, and barricades erected by protesters against the USS Enterprise.

Starr focuses not on political motifs, but rather the spectacular drama of these events. He sees a critical aspect of human nature in these improvised structures - heroic efforts to fix the world that have led to muddied results. He explores how history and objects are cobbled together in daily life and sometimes recycled to try to fix what people perceive to be problems in the world.

In his work, traces of history pop up alongside contemporary situations seen in everyday life, such as a bicycle jerry-rigged with speakers for a politician's election bike, the architecture of police boxes, a Pachinko hall, and road construction crews. All these are mingled with images of student radicals and military bases - a mixture of things he sees around Ueno and Asakusa, where he lives, photos taken with his cellphone, and images he comes across in his research.

This is a lesson learned from the theatrical worlds of Kabuki and Shakespeare's dramas, both of which play with contemporary events taking shape within a framework guided by the past. For Starr, this approach consists in observing and appreciating the complexity of the world.

After graduating from design school, where he majored in Illustration, Starr started a self-published magazine. The publication reinforced his interest in printed matter, and he went on to graduate with a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Connecticut. He then studied etching techniques at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poland.

Since 2005, he has been studying traditional Japanese woodcut prints at Tokyo University, honing his sensitivity towards delicate materials, a notion that comes from the traditional role of printmaking. Starr applies a more painterly approach to this acquired knowledge in order to portray his view of the world.

At this first solo exhibition in Tokyo, Tyler Starr presents his newest paintings and sculptures. The word "wallowing" can mean to revel in an emotion, but can also be used to refer to the struggle to wade through mud, for instance. His artwork deals with these dual human conditions, extending its concerns to both Japan and America, and the histories and cultures of both nations.

[Image: "Wallowing: Goodbye Enterprise", pencil, gouache, ganpi (2009)]



From 2009-08-07 To 2009-08-30

Opening Reception on 2009-08-06 from 19:00 to 21:00


Tyler Starr



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