Tomokazu Matsuyama's (a.k.a “Matsu”) solo exhibition, The Future is Always Bright, at Frey Norris coincides with his show Thousand Regards, at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, D.C..
Matsu is an artist fascinated with how we live, particularly with the reciprocal bleeding of cultures into one another powered by new communications technologies. These technologies play on ubiquitous devices, allowing constant e-mails, texting, and updates to social media. Urban centers have transformed into a patchwork of intermingling cultural signifiers born of locales near and distant, sometimes in multiple languages and with clashing symbologies. We experience a new conflation of the local and the global, giving rise to a "glocal" community, something the artist himself experiences every day in his adoptive New York City.
The Future is Always Bright includes both large and small paintings in strange and amorphous shapes, rectilinear and curvacious, sculpture and installations that act upon the gallery’s architecture, disintegrating the boundaries between his pieces and the space through novel placement of diagonal patterned carpeting and the occupation of transitional corners and edges with small objects. In his eponymous painting, The Future is Always Bright, Matsu has found a body of pan-Asian superstitions and symbols associated with affluence, prosperity and good fortune, such as the carp or tortoise. ForMoney Talks, Matsu both pays homage to a 13th century Buddhist sage Basu Sennin and satirizes him, leaning on a yellow cane and holding a pink piggy bank shedding a rainbow of casino chips onto a black Perspex plinth. The sage is backed by a taxidermied deer with iridescent metallic antlers to match his beetle carapace color of his robes; the deer is historically a symbol of the Buddha’s first “turning of the wheel of the Dharma,” his initial sermon in the deer park in Sarnath, India and in some ways the very first establishing of Buddhist ideas and liturgy.
On Saturday, May 5th at 3:00pm, there will be a panel discussion at Frey Norris with artist Tomokazu Matsuyama and Jagannath Panda; gallerist Peter Nagy of Nature Morte, New Delhi; Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Cristin McKnight Sethi and moderator Raman Frey. The event is free and open to the public.