Fourth Wall Project is pleased to announce the first major Boston solo exhibition of artist Kenji Nakayama. Opening Friday, April 18, 2014 with a public reception from 7 to 9pm, â€œÃ‰tudesâ€ marks a major departure in Nakayamaâ€™s oeuvre and debuts new bodies of work that are abstract and entirely focused on line, color, and texture. The exhibition is curated by Kristen Wawruck and will be on view through May 18, 2014.
â€œÃ‰tudesâ€ centers around fortyÂnine abstract compositions on paper that showcase the art of pinstriping--ÂÂa technique of decorative painting that Nakayama has dedicated the last decade to mastering. Learning pinstriping was the impetus for Nakayamaâ€™s move to the US from Japan, and while his past pinstriping pieces have adorned text on signs, antique saws, motorcycles, and other practical surfaces, this exhibition strips context and subject away in favor of a formalist exploration.
The exhibition title refers to the classical music composition format that is characteristically brief, albeit technically challenging, and provides a vehicle for virtuosity. This body of work was created over the last seven months, and for each piece, Nakayama worked within rigid parameters: black paper, acrylic line work, and a white enamel finish that serves as a compositional â€œanchorâ€ÂÂ -- a black and white horizontal compass for line and color to live within.
The series begins with several rosettes created in summer and fall of 2013, which conjures stained glass, mandalas, and hubcaps. Nakayamaâ€™s work transitions organically from circular works to more calligraphic compositions that meander from central points, or, as with his later works, are repetitive and script-Âlike. Later works in the series inspiration from EdoÂ-era signage, which is defined by thick and heavy brushstrokes.
The number of works created in this series--ÂÂfortyÂ-nineÂÂ--refers to the period of mourning that is observed within Zen Buddhist traditions. Within this ritual, it is believed that the spirit of the deceased will transition into the next realm after a forty-Ânine day periodÍ¾ the fortyÂ-ninth day is celebrated by family and friends with a ceremony.
The exhibition features several other works on repurposed objects and panels. A discarded crucifix is given a gold, red, and black pinstriping treatment that evokes Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox motifs, while other surfaces, such as mirrors, play host to totemic compositions that reference Pacific Northwest American Indian, Japanese Buddhist, and Ainu art. As with the Ã‰tudes
series, these distinctive works are defined by symmetry and balance of line and color.
â€œÃ‰tudesâ€ is made possible through the support of Converse, Inc. The exhibition is free and open to the public
. Gallery hours are 1PM to 6PM, Wednesday through Friday, and from 1PM to 5PM on Sunday.
â€œÃ‰tudesâ€ is organized by Kristen Wawruck, a New York CityÂ-based arts professional. Additional information about the exhibition can be found here: http://fourthwallproject.com/kenji
About The Artist:
Kenji Nakayama was born in Tomakomai on the island of Hokkaido, Japan in 1979. A mechanical engineer by education, Nakayama made a significant life change in 2004 with a move to Boston, Massachusetts to study traditional sign painting and to dedicate his time and energy to art making. Nakayamaâ€™s diverse practice ranges from careful pinstriping and gilded lettering to handÂcut, multiÂlayered stencil paintings. Each intricately carved stencil painting is a unique manifestation of documenting and responding to the environment surrounding him, and often takes months to complete. His work serves as a personal diary of experience and influence, and his process can be described as a balance between meditation and highly-Âtrained craftsmanship. Music, solitude, humor, motorcycles, and urban decay serve as direct sources of inspiration.
Nakayamaâ€™s work has been exhibited widely across the US and abroad in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He attended a mechanical institute from 1998-Â2002 in Tokyo, and studied traditional sign painting at Butera School of Arts 2004-Â2006 in Boston. Nakayama worked as a footwear designer at Converse from 2008 to 2013. In 2013, he began working with the Boston Âbased sign painting company Best Dressed Signs, in addition to working on independent projects. He currently lives and works in Boston.
About The Curator:
Kristen Wawruck is the Grants Director at the New Museum and the Development Manager for Rhizome in New York City, where she has been leading institutional fundraising efforts since 2010. Last year, she co-Âorganized â€œNew Museum Untapped: Music in the Park,â€ an outdoor music festival in conjunction with the 2013 IDEAS CITY Festival. In 2012, she was the first curator-Âin-Âresidence at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA. Before moving to New York, she was the Manager of Government and Foundation Relations at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA, where she also organized â€œExperimentâ€ live music and art events.
About Fourth Wall Project:
Fourth Wall Project was founded in 2009 by the team behind iconic installation art/fashion space Bodega with a goal of creating more places for punks to loiter, artists to flourish, and facilitate exhibitions by emerging visionaries. The Bodega Crewâ€™s original concept was to turn dormant commercial spaces into pop up gallery spaces, thus reclaiming urban space for public art projects and progressive exhibitions. Independent/DIY and local artist projects take priority in gallery programming, which is complemented by exhibitions of international artists. The gallery was awarded Bostonâ€™s Best Gallery by the Improper Bostonian
in 2010. Fourth Wall Project is currently located at 132 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.