Interview: LEGIONS EXHIBITION at James Oliver Gallery
Opening Saturday, August 26th: LEGIONS, featuring Michele Kishita, Christopher Wood and Perry Felix Designs: David Markham-Gessner & David Krevolin. Legions is an exhibit that thrusts a formation of three artists with separate yet unifying approaches in their work. The forge of commonality is their unbounding sense of global universality in a huge nod for mother nature. Works exhibited here illustrate many facets of our instinctual visions notated in their respective mediums, both imagined and captured.
AUG 26 - SEPT 30
What is the inspiration and concept behind the work included in this exhibition?
Christopher T. Wood: Daydrawing is a long-term project that began on January 1, 2016. I create daily drawings, the accumulation of which expand into a broader endeavor in the form of a hyperobject. ‘Hyperobject’ is a term coined by Timothy Morton to describe entities we can experience directly but are so distributed in space and in time that they cannot be said to exist anywhere in particular.
aydrawing, in 9 x 12 inch fragments, is both already complete and will never be completed. It is both local and becoming increasingly dispersed as the fragments drift away from one another through digital publication, collection and gallery shows. It is of critical importance to understand Daydrawing as a single object, continuously in creation and existing in many locations at once. The piece’s audience currently enjoys the work through tiny digital representations on Instagram (@christophertwood), as entire months in the artist's studio, and in small groups in galleries and public and private collections around the world.
he surface of each Daydrawing fragment engages an interplay with a range of values and textures achieved with graphite. The imagery builds on existing narratives within Daydrawing and draws influence from subjects ranging from tales of hubris in politics to natural phenomena and chance events at many scales – from the cellular to the galactic. I want the panels to conjure a sort of half-remembered dreamscape.
Perry Felix Design: (PFD) is driven to create work that explores raw materials and how the characteristics of each work in concert to create a beautiful object. The meditative beauty of wood in combination with the dynamic patterns of wood grain juxtaposed by frames and supports of steel. We highlight the interesting detail by meticulously finishing the wood, often maintaining a live, uncut edge. Gouges, cracks and imperfections, natural irregularities, are highlighted with inlays of brass, bronze, aluminum, and gold. The wood is beautiful choose because of its irregular grain, holes, and cracks - Wabi-Sabi the perfection in imperfection. These features are all the physical reminisce of traumatic periods in the life of the tree. Exploring the relationship between our materials we gained a greater understanding of their similarities. Both wood and metal are ‘living' and evolving. Both expand and contract, absorb moisture and both share a relationship with fire. Metals are forged in flame while forests cycle by natural wildfire. The engineered steel is the skin, the slab of wood the body. The arrangement is allegorical of our bodies: physical and spiritual. Their construction and experience are meditative. The intersection of mined and forged metals with organically extracted minerals is our archeological exploration of the physical and emotional human bodies. The intersection of the tangible and intangible organism.
Exposed and encapsulated, bark skin and metal framed armor. imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete The disorder is encapsulated in an attempt to extract order.
iving relic. Hundreds of years of geology, ethnography, and botany. While seemingly preserved, they continue to change. And just as they were grown, mined, harvested, refined, dried, smelted, milled, formed, fabricated, and sealed, so will they rust, decay, discolor, and decompose.
Michele Kishita: My work is a dialogue between the wooden surfaces on which I paint and the trees from which those panels were built. By transforming a tree’s rounded mass into flat, rectangular sheets, man imposes control over nature with straight lines and angles. Despite the tree’s new shape, the undulations of what it once was emerge from the boxy surface. The panels are a record of man’s relationship with nature while also highlighting life's central interconnectedness. The measure of a tree’s growth and the amount of water taken annually, is evident in the wood grain’s concentric circles; thus, the history of the landscape is contained within the tree itself. In my paintings, I strive to tease out the landscape that is inherently a part of each panel, while expressing the visual contrast and harmony where man-made structures and nature intersect.
The way the work evolved for this exhibition surprised me. I’m beginning to realize that I am a project-based artist, and that it’s difficult for me to make new pieces for an exhibition without considering the space. As I was sitting in the Gallery, I kept thinking about the windows and how much light they let into the room, and I was also thinking about the other artists’ works - Christopher’s drawings are black and grey and delicate, while the Davids’ wood pieces embrace the natural color and shape of the wood itself. So, in response to their work and the space, I decided to limit the colors of my paintings from the typical bright chromatic palette to black, white, and grey, along with gold leaf. The landscapes in this exhibition are reminiscent of fragmented memories that have accumulated over the years, blips on the screen of consciousness, which are triggered by everyday sensory experiences.
What do you hope the viewers take away from your pieces in the show as well as the experience as a whole?
Christopher T. Wood: I want people to have a sense of keyhole views into an alternate universe.
Perry Felix Design: In the moment you come upon this work, meditate on your origins, your experience of time, your skin, your spine, your armor, your origins, growth and eventual return from whence you came.
Michele Kishita: I always want the viewer to see that the surface of the work is just as important as the painting itself and to discover the literal, metaphorical, and visual layers of connection between man and nature.
On the outset, each artist’s work is very different from each other, both in materials and approach, but I would like the viewer to walk away from the exhibition seeing our similarities and how the individual bodies are working together as one.
Tell us about your creative process. How does each piece come to life from references to execution.
Christopher T. Wood: he Daydrawing process begins with the creation of a new work on paper each day – and the hyperobject emerges as each drawing is released into the world, resulting in a diaristic, many-paneled entity that stretches through time, space, and beyond our capacity to observe.
Perry Felix Design: We take much time in the selection process. What materials and how to use them and they work together to that the pieces become the whole. We learn by making, Each piece is the same but different. It becomes meditative. While working our minds wander. We work on numerous piece at a time. Each piece going through the the same process at the same time.
Michele Kishita: Each painting depends entirely on the wood grain for its subject and composition. When the wood grain is particularly beautiful, I either highlight it by painting within the grain lines or I leave it completely unpainted in the most significantly distinct areas. The way that I treat the “man-made” aspects of the work is intuitive and unconsciously calls on my everyday experiences in the urban and natural landscapes.
What is your background in the arts? Give us a little bit of history behind your work.
Christopher T. Wood: ormal training includes a BFA in Illustration and an MFA in Painting. Recent studio work is influenced by traveling artist residencies, art conservation, pataphysical investigations, and the concept of hyperobjects.
Michele Kishita: have my BFA and MFA in painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and an AST in graphic design. I am also a Japanese print consultant, assisting auction houses and collectors. My work is influenced by Hiroshige and Hokusai’s depictions of water, my childhood in rural Pennsylvania and Arizona, and my travels domestically throughout the States and abroad to Japan, Peru, and the UAE.