Waves... The Tides of Time
Art Exhibit Reflects Change in the WorldJULIAN RIVAS
Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor
With Occupy Wall Street’s rise to global recognition, politically charged art has been growing throughout the world in the form of elaborate signs, clothing, and pictures on the Internet. The quaint Lower East Side gallery, onetwentyeight, has taken notice and is currently hosting a more traditional exhibition titled Waves... The Tides of Time.
While the Occupy Wall Street theme is immediately spotted upon entering the gallery, it was not the main inspiration for the project. Kazuko Miyamoto, the owner of onetwentyeight for 25 years and an artist for 46 years, said she first thought of a project about water and the changing of its tides during a stay in Europe.
She eventually decided to combine the water theme with the idea of revolution after natural disasters devastated Japan. Miyamoto then noticed a variety of political movements that started taking
action all throughout the world, and she finally decided to enlist a group of artists and acquaintances to help put together the exhibit.
Sitting alongside the clear politically charged artworks that were made for the show are pieces with splashes of clashing dull and bright colors, reminiscent of actual waves. But these pieces generally do away with the smooth clichés often associated with rivers, and create far more abrasive images. One painting features a wave, but its color is dimmed to the point of looking like dark steel--a reference to polluted, post-industrial bodies of water. “Another painting, by Hiroji Nakajima, provides an evocative image of a melting land covered in sewer gunk and appearing that its under attack.”
However, not all of the color-oriented artworks at the exhibit portray ugliness. Another one of Nakajima pieces looks like the interior of a flower, and artist Izumi Tokunoh combats the steel-tinted water paintings with his own set of shiny, gold waves.
The rest of the exhibit’s art is mostly straightforward. One section in the single- room gallery displays many Occupy Wall Street photographs taken by Hugh Burckhardt, who had frequented the protests. Burckhardt’s photos successfully encompass the somewhat aimless vibe of the protest---at least prior to the raid at Zuccotti Park.
In the photographs, individual protesters are captured sporting t-shirts and holding signs with clever, righteous messages such as “Too many cops, too little justice,” and “You have a right to be happy.” Most of Burckhardt’s photographs are of citizens standing idly in Zuccotti Park and of nervous looking police officers. Burckhardt’s collection avoids making a grand statement, and instead delivers the exciting, yet oft mundane experience of camping at the protest site.
At the back of the gallery stood Miyamoto’s canvas piece, featuring a faded image of three smiling men near the gallery’s Rivington location. “Part of the 99 percent,” she explained. Miyamoto also mentioned that they were homeless window washers, although the picture itself did not reveal that detail. At first glance, the worn image looks like a photograph of some major historical moment, but the simpler context provided by Miyamoto, makes her piece more effective in grounding the intentions of these protests to people ultimately just wanting to improve their day-to-day lives.
Drawing from a number of significant events this year, from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan to the movements and revolutions spreading throughout the world, Waves... The Tides of Time prevails as a subtle mirror of these changing days.Gallery onetwentyeight is located on 128 Rivington Street, and will be hosting Waves... The Tides of Time until December 3rd. For more information on the gallery and the exhibit, visit their website at www. galleryonetwentyeight.org.