Through fervent eyes and carefully curated surreal elements, the individual expressions and styles of Ken Nwadiogbu and Fumi Nakamura create a visual language striking every artistic cord with harmonious resonance. From hyperrealistic figures to forests of flora and fauna, the representation of arresting imagery is a discovery of heart and soul. Delve into each captivating collection and join Thinkspace Projects as they spring forth into their March exhibitions and proudly present Ken Nwadiogbu’s, “Ubuntu” and Fumi Nakamura’s, “Look Toward The Future, But Not So Far As To Miss Today”, opening this weekend on Saturday, March 6th.
NEW LOCATION: 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. 90016
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 6, 2021 | 12-6pm (no appointment necessary)
Exhibition Dates: March 6 – March 27, 2021
*masks and social distancing required at all times*
Ken Nwadiogbu, “Ubuntu”
Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Nigerian-born multidisciplinary artist Ken Nwadiogbu’s first solo exhibition in the United States. ‘UBUNTU’ is an ideology of humanity, often translated as “I am because we are.” In twenty new hyperrealist works, Nwadiogbu investigates representation through a focal-point of eyes as a means of discovering and revelation. By recreating his own realities as a young Nigerian, his work projects the experiences encountered by black lives around the globe. Nwadiogbu invokes a humanist connection to the ongoing issues of police brutality, racism, xenophobia, culture conflict and shock. Working with charcoal and acrylic he creates a hyperrealist narrative that demands socio-political thought and discourse, bringing the ideology full circle by emphasizing an understanding that we are more alike than different.
Societal tendencies drive Nwadiogbu’s work and his commitment to technique amplifies the intention behind every mark. Nwadiogbu explains, “I implore us to consider our society as spaces we occupy and challenge us to think, in a larger context, about our role in these spaces, what we can do to influence these spaces and how we react to these spaces, because I believe, it is only then that we can discover the true meaning of Ubuntu.”
Artist Statement // There will always be a need to understand and represent people in a different way. This becomes our way of discovering and revealing who we truly are.
My love for drawing faces of everyday people through ripped paper was born from a need to identify Africans in major global contexts. The eye became a major feature for me as it expresses and exposes more about us than any other part of the human body. My process of caring less for other features of my subjects and focusing on the eyes intensifies my every approach to represent us differently to the world.
The focal point of my art is on black lives; recreating my experiences and those encountered by the people around me such as police brutality, lingering racism, xenophobia, culture conflict and shock. Working with charcoal and acrylic, I am able to invoke empathy in the viewer forcing socio-political thoughts and discourse, and making them aware enough to respond to what is going on in the society.
‘UBUNTU’ can be expressed in the phrase “I am because we are”. My works bring this ideology FULL CIRCLE around the world to remind people that we are all more a like than different. We do not only bleed red but we were created to coexist, thus, for humanity to reach its zenith as one, we all need to uplift each other across the boundaries of miles, oceans and continents as a way to let Dictators and Perpetrators know that they have not won and that we are all willing to stand as one. All I’m doing is presenting you the truth with being black in a society crying out for UBUNTU. I believe we need this and many more conversations about our society to grow and pull the world out of the third world mentality that was inflicted on us by generations of imperialistic rulers.
Fumi Nakamura, “Look Toward The Future, But Not So Far As To Miss Today”“
Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present this new solo exhibition from artist Fumi Nakamura. ‘Look Towards the Future, But Not So Far As To Miss Today’ is a new body of work depicting flora and fauna. Each element is carefully selected to represent elements of life, memory, body and soul. Nakamura pulls from the subconscious, using metaphor and imagery to create striking pieces.
Fumi Nakamura draws inspiration from the Japanese phrase meaning “language of flower.” In line with this concept, each flower has different meanings right down to the positioning. Colors play a huge role as well, and each work becomes full of phrases and meanings. One tulip can mean a variety of things from “compassion” to “confession of love” to the “lost love” of a white tulip. Different from her previous work in which she frequently incorporated negative space, this new series is filled up to the edges. Using custom “coffin” or “container” imagery, Nakamura takes inspiration from the funeral ceremony where we last see and connect with another being physically and reflect on the past together. This collection of works is layered and complex both in visuals and meaning.
Artist Statement // Using fauna and flora as symbolism: each thing is carefully selected to depict my subconscious and unconscious mind about life, memories, body and soul.
In Japanese, we have Hana Kotoba which it means “language of flower”. For example, each flower has different meanings, and arranged/composed onto paper carefully (Ie: Tulip generally means “compassion.” And different color changes meaning of tulip; red tulip translates “confession of love,” white tulip becomes “lost love,” and yellow tulip is “genuine love.” Tulip also has a meaning of a “perfect lover”).
I also try to incorporate traditional Japanese floral arrangement, ikebana, where it was historically made as an offering by Buddhist altar during the Heian Period. Buddhist and Buddhism desire to preserve lives and believe in rebirth and death is part of life. Unlike animals, flowers and plants can continue to grow/regrow even if they are detached from roots and soil. It is also considered to be an attempt to comprehensively manage the mysterious power beyond the reach of humans on the vase. Unlike my older work where negative spaces were common, a new series fills the image up to edges. In a format of depicting a custom “coffin” or “container.” In funerals is a ceremony where we last see and connect with another being physically, and revise to look back at the past together.
About the Gallery // Thinkspace Projects was founded in 2005; now in LA’s burgeoning West Adams District, the gallery has garnered an international reputation as one of the most active and productive exponents of the New Contemporary Art Movement. Maintaining its founding commitment to the promotion and support of its artists, Thinkspace has steadily expanded its roster and diversified its projects, creating collaborative and institutional opportunities all over the world. Founded in the spirit of forging recognition for young, emerging, and lesser-known talents, the gallery is now home to artists from all over the world, ranging from the emerging, mid-career, and established. The New Contemporary Art Movement, not unlike its earlier 20th Century counterparts like Surrealism, Dada, or Fauvism, ultimately materialized in search of new forms, content, and expressions that cited rather than disavowed the individual and the social. The earliest incarnations of the Movement, refusing the paradigmatic disinterest of “Art” as an inaccessible garrison of ‘high culture’, championed figuration, surrealism, representation, pop culture, and the subcultural. By incorporating the ‘lowbrow,’ accessible, and even profane, an exciting and irreverent art movement grew in defiance of the mandated renunciations of “high” art. Emerging on the West Coast in the 90’s partly as a response to the rabid ‘conceptual-turn’ then championed on the East Coasts, the Movement steadily created its own platforms, publications, and spaces for the dissemination of its imagery and ideas.
Though the New Contemporary Art Movement has remained largely unacknowledged by the vetted institutions of the fine art world and its arbiters of ‘high culture,’ the future promises a shift. The Movement’s formative aversion to the establishment is also waning in the wake of its increased visibility, institutional presence, and widespread popularity. Thinkspace has sought to champion and promote the unique breadth of the Movement, creating new opportunities for the presentation of its artists and work. Though still very much invested in the elevation and exposure of its emerging talents, the gallery, now in its 13th year, has come into its own with a roster that reflects this maturity.
An active advocate for what is now one of the longest extant organized art movement’s in history, Thinkspace is an established voice for its continued growth and evolution. The gallery has in recent years expanded its projects beyond Los Angeles, exhibiting with partner galleries and organizations in Berlin, Hong Kong, London, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and Honolulu among many others, participating in International Art Fairs, and curating New Contemporary content for Museums. Committed to the vision, risk, and exceptional gifts of its artists, the gallery is first and foremost a family. From the streets to the museums, and from the “margins” to the white cube, Thinkspace is re-envisioning what it means to be “institutional.