Osamu James Nakagawa

Eclipse

Oct 31 - Dec 22, 2018
PGI

Osamu James Nakagawa

Eclipse

Oct 31 - Dec 22, 2018
PGI

  • ©Osamu James Nakagawa

  • ©Osamu James Nakagawa

  • ©Osamu James Nakagawa

  • ©Osamu James Nakagawa

  • ©Osamu James Nakagawa

  • ©Osamu James Nakagawa

PGI welcomes back photographer Osamu James Nakagawa after 4 years.

 

Osamu James Nakagawa was born in New York City and raised in Japan before returning to the States as a teen in the 1970s.His career as an artist began in the 1990s. Since then he has worked on numerous projects exploring identity and the effects of moving between countries.

An interest in dissecting the American dream led him to work on Drive-In Theater from 1992 through 1997. By compositing images of social and racial injustices onto derelict screens of once-iconic American drive-in theaters, he was able to express his own mixed feelings upon returning to the US as a young Japanese man.

Nakagawa began re-examining his old negatives after the rise of Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ rhetoric and the recent resurgence of bigotry and inequality in modern America, leading him to create a new series based on his Drive-In Theater work. The result is a dystopian look at a country divided by politics, seen from the middle of one of the most polarized political climates in history.

Prints made from old negatives as well as images created over the last year exhibit exceptional sharpness and tonality due to the unique Piezography printing process in which color inkjet printers are modified to print in various shades of gray. Like the prints themselves, this work shows that no issue is as black and white as it first appears.

 

The exhibit will feature 20 Piezography prints.

25 years ago, my career as a photographer was launched by a series of images of billboards, TV monitors, and drive-in theaters (Drive-in Theater and Billboard series 1992-1997).  

 

At once visually seductive and iconic, I saw these sites as mere façades or projections that conveniently concealed or obfuscated larger national issues of religion, immigration, racial and economic inequality and unrest. I also came to realize that these interfaces allowed Hollywood and corporations to espouse fabricated mythologies or histories of the American Dream through films and ad campaigns.  

 

With the recent promise to “Make America Great Again,” we’re no longer recollecting the past but reliving it, a fact that compelled me to revisit my old negatives of drive-in theaters as well as to start photographing more recent abandoned theaters in the Midwest.

 

The early Drive-in Theater and Billboard series brought the past to the present by digitally filling the theater screens with images I took of KKK demonstrations, the southern border, migrant workers, etc…  In hindsight, these almost seem like dark predictions of the future, our current moment.  

 

In the new Eclipse series, the screens have gone blank.  They stand as uncertain monuments in a disorienting landscape that is at once familiar yet unrecognizable.  Muddling night and day, positive and negative, present and future, this work presents a dystopian world that is not as black and white as it appears at first glance.

 

Osamu James Nakagawa

Osamu James Nakagawa

Osamu James Nakagawa was born in New York City in 1962 and raised in Tokyo. He returned to the United States, moving to Houston, Texas, at the age of 15. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of St. Thomas Houston in 1986 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston in 1993. Currently, Mr. Nakagawa is the Ruth N. Halls Distinguished Professor of Photography at Indiana University, where he directs the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies. He lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana.

Nakagawa is a recipient of the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Higashikawa New Photographer of the Year, and 2015 Sagamihara Photographer of the Year in Japan. Nakagawa’s work has been exhibited internationally, solo exhibitions include OKINAWA TRILOGY: Osamu James Nakagawa, Kyoto University of Art and Design; GAMA Caves, PGI, Tokyo; Banta: Stained Memory, Sakima Art Museum, Okinawa, Japan; Course: Banta, SEPIA International Inc., New York, NY; Osamu James Nakagawa, Ma-between the past, McMurtrey Gallery, Houston, Texas; Kai: Osamu James Nakagawa, SEPIA International Inc., New York. 

Selected group shows include – A Shared Elegy: Emmet Gowin, Elijah Gowin, Takayuki Ogawa, James Nakagawa, Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indiana University; The Photograph: What You See & What You Don’t #02, Chinretsukan Gallery, Tokyo National University of Arts; Infinite Pulse: Photography in Time, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, curated by Alison Pappas; After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age, curated by Mia Fineman, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Traces and Omens, 2005 Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen, Netherlands, Contemporary American Photography, 7 International Fototage 2005, Mannheim Germany; Common Ground, Corcoran Museum of Fine Arts, Washington D.C.; Cuenca, Ecuador Bienal ’98: Borderline Figuration; Medialogue-Photography in Contemporary Japanese Art ’98, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Field of Vision: Five Gulf Coast Photographers, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; George Eastman Museum; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Sakima Art Museum, Okinawa; The Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and others. Nakagawa is represented by Sepia EYE, NYC and PGI, Tokyo. Nakagawa’s recent monograph GAMA Caves was published from Akaaka Art Publisher in Tokyo, Japan.

 

 

PGI Exhibitions

June 6 July 19, 2014 GAMA CAVES