The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art presents Tiger and The Eternal Struggle, a pop-up research exhibition curated by Catherine Swift.
What happens when elements of traditional Japanese art meet contemporary Western iconography? Tiger (2007), by Las Vegas-based artist Sush Machida Gaikotsu, and The Eternal Struggle (4ever21) (2017) by Brooklyn-based artist Eri King, investigate this interesting interaction of diverse cultures. Conflicting animals inspired by traditional art converge with modern icons such as a tattoo gun, an Andy Warhol banana, and little green tree air fresheners in Gaikotsu’s piece. Together, they present a potential commentary on the freshness of the creative and the systemized commodity. King takes consumables from the everyday in the form of Disney characters, a bag of Cheetos, and a well-known storefront and combines them with figures derived from works by Italian Renaissance painters Michelangelo and Masaccio. These elements propose a conversation between the items we give value to and the effects they have on us. Both works allude to the ideas of Ukiyo or “the floating world”; a distinct genre of traditional Japanese art defined by the depiction of pleasurable daily activities with an underlying tone of sadness. By way of the clouds, these solemn subjects are lifted into another realm; each with pleasures and hazards. Tiger and The Eternal Struggle(4ever21) suggest a sense of discontentment or unrest against the status quo of today.
UNLV Department of Art alumna Eri King is a multimedia artist that investigates the relationship we have with everyday items of consumption and the value that is given to them. Born in Japan, but now based in Brooklyn, NY, King has exhibited her work at several galleries both domestically and abroad.
Japan-born Sush Machida Gaikotsu creates compositions that pull from modernity and tradition, resulting in vibrant acrylic paintings that are electrifying and enigmatic. He received his MFA from the UNLV Department of Art in 2002 and is currently based in Las Vegas.
Catherine Swift is an intern at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. Currently, she is a fourth-year undergraduate at UNLV as a dual major in Art and Art History. Swift’s focus is the traditional art of Japan.
Image credit: Eri King, The Eternal Struggle (4ever21), 2017, pastel, acrylic, pencil, ink on paper, gift of the artist, Majorie Barrick Museum of Art Collection (Photo: Mikayla Whitmore)