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Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff

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American in Disguise, 2012 Acrylic on Canvas 34 X 34 in © Courtesy of the artist and Eight Modern
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Chinese Baby Imposter, 2012 Acrylic on Canvas 34 X 34 in © Courtesy of the artist and Eight Modern
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American Mouse, 2011 Acrylic on Canvas 24 X 24 in © Courtesy of the artist and Eight Modern
Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff

231 Delgado Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
August 10th, 2012 - October 13th, 2012
Opening: August 10th, 2012 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://www.eightmodern.net
NEIGHBORHOOD:  
Downtown/Plaza
EMAIL:  
info@eightmodern.net
PHONE:  
505 995 0231
OPEN HOURS:  
Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m

DESCRIPTION

Eight Modern is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff.

Shimomura’s exhibition probes what it means to be an “other” in America, presenting fourteen paintings (all self-portraits) that skillfully blend anger and absurdity. Shimomura’s work draws heavily on his own experiences as an Asian American – in which he is often perceived and treated as a foreigner in his own country.

In An American Knockoff, the artist surrounds himself with or subsumes his own likeness into iconic representations of American and Asian popular culture. Shimomura’s distinctive round glasses and salt-and-pepper goatee appear incongruously on the famous visages of cartoon mice, pigs and crime-fighters. Frequently misidentified as Chinese, in “Chinese Imposter #5” the Japanese American paints himself as a muscular Chinese revolutionary off of a propaganda poster.

Shimomura was born and raised in Seattle. During World War II, he was held for two years at the Minidoka interment camp, one of 10 built to confine American citizens of Japanese descent. He went on to earn degrees from Washington (B.A.) and Syracuse (M.F.A.). Since 1969, he has resided in Lawrence, Kansas, where he taught at the University of Kansas for 35 years.

“Since living in Kansas, I have found it to be routine to be asked what part of Japan I am from, or how long I have lived in this country,” Shimomura said. “Just as common, subtle references continue to connect me to stereotypical ‘oriental’ traits, both physical and behavioral.”

“Far too many American-born citizens of Asian descent continue to be thought of as only ‘American knockoffs.’ This latest series of paintings is an attempt to ameliorate the outrage of these misconceptions by depicting myself battling those stereotypes or, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, becoming those very same stereotypes.”

Using a characteristic style that fuses American Pop art and ukiyo-e imagery, Shimomura has focused particular attention on the experience of Asian Americans and the challenges of being “different” in America. In his words, he seeks to “address sociopolitical issues of ethnicity.” His work resides in 85 museum collections worldwide, and he has received more than 30 grants, had more than 130 solo exhibitions and lectured at more than 200 universities. His personal papers are being collected by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

Shimomura will give a talk on his work on Thursday, August 9 at 6 pm at SITE Santa Fe (1606 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501). The lecture is free and open to the public.