Top Destination: Earthshine & An Auction!

Every month, Al Mahha Art Blog will select & feature one – three events as Top Destination for art lovers to keep an eye on & attend, these “Destinations” or events are selected based on honestly what I find unique & special in them…

This September, San Francisco will come face to face with wild shining animals for the first time all the way from Tokyo, when Gallery Wendi Norris opens it doors on the 5th with a solo exhibition of acclaimed  Japanese artist Tomoko Konoike “Earthshine”, the artist first solo in United States. Not only will the artist bring breathtaking inspired sculptures but also trigger viewers curiosity to question our existence & Creator’s protection.

Another Destination to hit on September 16 is Ayyam Gallery’s sixteenth Young Collectors Auction YCA, speaking from an experience when I attended January’s auction, the extravagandish space in AlSerkal Avenue (Dubai) is turned into a ballroom filled with art pieces from all over the world, offering an opportunity for young collectors – or lets say new players – to own an artwork at affordable prices… Attend, bid & get in a vibrant full of suspense scene!

Destination One: Earthshine in San Francisco

Tomoko Konoike "Donning Animal Skins and Braided Grass" mixed media sculpture, 117 x 55 x 318 cm. Courtesy: Wendi Noris Gallery
Tomoko Konoike “Donning Animal Skins and Braided Grass” mixed media sculpture, 117 x 55 x 318 cm. Courtesy: Wendi Norris Gallery

Bringing her inspiration into life, renowned Japanese artist Tomoko Konoike’s show “Earthshine” at Gallery Wendi Norris from September 5th until October 26, transports viewers to another world through a multidisciplinary practice encompassing drawing, sculpture, photography, animation, and painted fusuma screens. Inspired by a wide array of sources, including manga, Noh drama, Shinto animism, and pop culture, Konoike’s imagery creates a dreamy sense of place and metaphysically charged narrative.

Wolves, now extinct in Konoike’s native Japan, are recurring, spiritual figures in her work. “Donning Animal Skins and Braided Grass” (above) has a dazzling finish that reflects an ephemeral light show in the gallery space, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Life-sized, it is intended to suggest that a full grown adult could climb on its back and be transported to another realm.

In Japanese traditions, it is believed that Fusuma –  vertical rectangular panels which can slide from side to side to redefine spaces within a room, or act as doors – protect people against threats from the hereafter. Konoike’s massive painted screen also titled Fusuma (below) addresses the notion of a metaphysical, enchanted “border” through images of wolves, lightning, and a larger than life human skull. This work suggests the possibility of communicating with gods of nature at the boundary between this world and the next.

As shape-shifting stand-ins for viewers, the artist, and nature, Konoike’s characters and situations are frequently charming and dramatic. Delivered with uncanny innocence and technical elegance, they invite viewers to interpret her dreamy “auto-cosmic” symbols and storylines according to one’s own time and place in the world.

Screen with face plane
Tomoko Konoike “Fusuma” Japanese Ink, shell powder, gold leaf on Kumohada paper. Courtesy: Wendi Norris Gallery
Tomoko Konoike "Fusuma" installation screen front. Courtesy: Wendi Norris Gallery
Tomoko Konoike “Fusuma” installation screen front. Courtesy: Wendi Norris Gallery

About the Artist

Born in Akita, Japan, Tonoko Konoike lives and works in Tokyo. She graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at The Singapore Art Museum, Akita Museum of Art, Akita, Busan Museum, Busan, Korea, Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, and in shows in Taiwan, Spain, Germany, Israel, Australia, Greece, France, London, Italy, Thailand, the Netherlands, and the US. Her work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Kiryu City Performing Arts Center, Gunma, Japan, the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan, MUZA Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan, Ohara Museum, Okayama, Japan, and the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. Public and corporate art projects include Lodge the Art Museum on Mt. Moriyoshi, Toshio Shimizu Art office, and Sunport Konan in Tokyo, to name a few.

About the Gallery

Gallery Wendi Norris presents a compelling contemporary and modern program with a strong emphasis on the global market. Since 2003, we have worked with over one hundred of the top museums around the world, placing works in their collections and collaborating on solo and group exhibitions. Though, by design, the range of works we show is diverse, a common thread runs through them all: a focus on the human ability to create psychological and spiritual meaning through form and content. Both the artworks and the artists themselves are emblematic of this aesthetic ambition and our trans-cultural nature. Through our expertise in the modern art world, with an unparalleled network in Surrealism, and through our considered selection of some of today’s most dynamic artists, we support a range of private clients, museums, and not-for-profit art organizations.

Destination Two: Young Collectors Auction in Dubai

Elias Izoli, Untitled, acrylic on canvas,150 x 150 cm, 2011. Courtesy: Ayyam Gallery
Elias Izoli, Untitled, acrylic on canvas,150 x 150 cm, 2011. Courtesy: Ayyam Gallery

Signaling the re-opening of the arts season in the Gulf region, the 16th Young Collectors Auction returns to Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz in Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai on 16 September 2013. The auction invites both seasoned and aspiring collectors to view an array of carefully selected works from established and emerging artists incorporating painting, photography, limited-edition prints, video and installation. With over 75 lots ranging in price from $1,000 to $15,000 USD, the auction will offer a unique opportunity to invest in some of the most exciting contemporary artists working in the Middle East today in a relaxed and professional atmosphere.

The Young Collectors Auction (YCA) acts as a platform for unearthing new talent and providing international exposure for emerging artists. In the past, after showcasing his work at the YCA in 2012, Farzad Kohan went on to have a commercially successful exhibition at Ayyam Gallery DIFC. Kohan’s work will again feature in the YCA this September with mixed media piece ‘This Forever Love’ (2013), alongside works by renowned Palestinian artist Samia Halaby, Iranian artists Reza Lavasani, Alireza Fani and Syrian artists Safwan Dahoul and Fateh Moudarres. Lara Zankoul, an artist who has been recognized among the top ten emerging artists at the YCA in 2012 by CNN, will also have work included in the auction after debuting her work last year.

Farzad Kohan "From this Heart to the Sky" mixed media on wood, 122 x 122 cm,  2012. Courtesy: Ayyam Gallery
Farzad Kohan “From this Heart to the Sky” mixed media on wood, 122 x 122 cm, 2012. Courtesy: Ayyam Gallery

Many artists will be showing their work for the first time at the auction, offering a unique chance to bid on rising names in the contemporary art world including Kourosh Golnari’s bronze sculpture ‘Goddess of the Centuries’ (2011) and emerging Saudi street artist Shaweesh, whose photo etchings humorously juxtapose iconic fictional figures such as Yoda and Captain America with world leaders.

From 9 -15 September 2013, Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz will have the artwork lots on display, with specialists on hand available to answer any questions. For more information, visit The Young Collectors Auction website, a dedicated platform to register, view lots and even place your absentee bids online.

About The Young Collectors Auction

The first of its kind in the region, The Young Collectors Auction was launched in 2009 as part of Ayyam Gallery’s innovative approach to catering to its diverse range of clients and to introduce new regional talents to the art scene. These public sales have highlighted some of the Middle East’s most exciting figures, featuring prominent and budding artists from across the Arab world, Turkey and Iran. The Young Collectors Auction works with other Middle Eastern galleries and collectors to ensure a vast selection of painting, sculpture and photography that is at once authoritative and robust. Expanding the number and quality of lots with each edition, The Young Collectors Auction has become an essential part of the region’s acclaimed lineup of yearly art events.

Bon Voyage & Cheers

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