Jon Sasaki’s work emulates the perseverance of spirit of a blues drifter. Acceptance—rather than transcendence—of one’s current situation, and the will to persist, are the markers of Jon’s personae and cast of characters. Sasaki, a self-described romantic-conceptualist, creates scenarios that are rife with opportunity for failure. A deep-rooted insistence on finding the bright side becomes a courageous (or foolhardy) act of revolution. The promise of a better day is just around the corner. Sasaki’s presentation of reality elicits empathy, and our hearts may be torn between the charm of the naïve player and our own ability to recognize a situation that is destined to be pathetic. The awareness of this tension enables us to find beauty, and opens us up to a sweetened sense of our human condition.
Utilizing video, objects, performance and installation, Jon Sasaki’s work takes cynicism, futility and tragedy as starting points, countering the thematic heaviness with dry, comic delivery. He investigates an eternal optimism that, while endearing and charming, is filled with the trappings of failure. This condition is made manifest in his video Crossroads; the protagonist ineffectually wandering Clarksdale Crossroads where legendary blues icon Robert Johnson made the choice to ‘sell his soul to the devil’ in exchange for extraordinary guitar skills. This tale is rich with themes that Sasaki has been exploring for some time—aspiration, tragedy, success, failure, ambition, choice and fate.
Jon Sasaki lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. He has been presented in solo exhibitions at 126 (Galway, Ireland), Centre Clark (Montreal), Gallery TPW (Toronto), The New Gallery (Calgary), and Latitude 53 (Edmonton). He has participated in recent group exhibitions at VOX (Montreal), the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (University of Toronto), the Owens Art Gallery (Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB), Simon Fraser University Gallery (Burnaby, BC), as well as the 2006 and 2008 editions of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche. Jon was an active member of the Instant Coffee art collective between 2002 and 2007. He is represented by Jessica Bradley Art+Projects (Toronto).
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