Twelve artists from Japan and the U.S. pack the small gallery of Eastside International with plenty of fun, in what amounts to a party atmosphere. Riot of Flowers — the third and final installment of exhibitions aimed at bringing contemporary Japanese artists to the Southland, curated by Los Angeles artist Kio Griffith — lands with a pyrotechnic bang of summertime fireworks. The pollination crossing the Pacific bears fruit, drenched in rainbow technicolor and discordant harmony, like a friendly underground rave of the late 90s.
Collectively, the ad hoc orchard appears like Michael Reafsnyder’s juicy blobs and tasty slabs lost in the disturbing paradise of Dana Schutz.
Mayumi Arai, Kaoru Hironaka, Yuuki Horiuchi, Mana Ogata, Mizuki Shibata, and Canna Sudo hail from the East. Bridget Beck, Rema Ghuloum, Aska Irie, Esmeralda Montes, Yoshie Sakai, and Tessie Whitmore represent the West. Pleasure builds as each work feeds playful energy and good vibe into the space.
Sakai’s low-budget, soapy melodrama plays on an old chunky TV, channeling an offbeat mood throughout the room, which is reflected in the happily unintelligible sculptures by Whitmore. A trio of intimate, painted objects carved out of styrofoam by Ghuloum anchors the air ever so weightlessly, while Montes’ alluring, seemingly spineless figures stir and agitate. Beck and Hironaka — benches and the wall — are a strange, irresistible match made in junkyard heaven.
When the fun is over and the cord is pulled, all the air gets sucked out and along goes the soul. Ogata’s deflated flatness demonstrates. A sense of impermanence permeates. The idea is to enjoy while the party lasts.
Riot of Flowers will conclude this Sunday, July 26, 2015 at Eastside International.
All images courtesy of artists and Kio Griffith.