The concept behind Bleicher Gallery’s Grayscale Wonderland is, in the words of gallery owner Om Navon Bleicher, “to spark our imagination and create spectacular worlds without the use of overt color.” The key word is overt, which means that the color is not blatantly obvious or conspicuous. I suppose another key word in connection to this statement is imagination. The black and white images are meant to invoke colorful images within our psyche. Externally we only see black and white, but the narratives, the forms, and the cultures represented in the works are meant to “spark” emotional and creative explosions in our minds.
2525 Michigan Avenue Space G8A
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Feb 7, 2015- late Feb 2015
Artists such as Mizuho Koyama, who combines her traditional training in classical Japenese sho (calligraphy) with graffiti art, sends both literal messages through the frenzied lettering in her art, as in What Else, which includes a poem by Rumi, but also shocks us by placing thick blocks in the center of the canvas. The black shapes seem to cover up possible lettering underneath, thereby concealing a message and thus forcing our eyes to look away from the center to the bordering disorder. But the eyes cannot help but to be drawn back to the center. The black shape is not completely solid, there are scratches of white from underneath. To what extent will that darkness spread from the center? Or has it only covered the unnecessary to illuminate the essential message?
Koyama’s What Else painting is the first work you will encounter in the Grayscale Wonderland, and its concept sets the tone for the entire show. By removing color and working with shadows, the artists are not only concealing less important information for our minds to process, they are highlighting the essence of the images they have captured. The darkness takes, but it also gives.
Event photography provided by Ambrose Gardenhire