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Garrick Imatani: Monologues
April 3, 2021 - May 1, 2021Free
Garrick Imatani’s project examines the forces that inform and shape perceptions of non-dominant cultural identities. Through an examination of his own Japanese cultural heritage, Imatani creates objects and iconographies that use direct observation or online engagement to setup an alternative punchline. With his project he questions the aesthetics of assimilation and authenticity, as well as the contemporary and conceptual which continue to situate works within co-opted art historical references. The objects and prints comprising this installation question both the dominant canon and inclusionary and equity constructs—first enforced by colonialist aesthetics and further perpetuated within institutional frameworks and scholarship. In creating interactive objects layered with humorous imagery, Imatani seeks to diffuse the notion of an intangible “essence” of a culture—inviting instead a de-centralized, intricate and multifaceted reading of cultural properties beyond one’s own.
In conjunction with Garrick Imatani’s exhibition Monologue at Eugene Contemporary, the Center for Art Research at the University of Oregon will host a conversation between artists Imatani (Portland), Lynn Yarne (Portland) and Lu Yim (New York) reflecting on the cultural representation of their Asian American identity. The dialogue will address the artists’ perception of the nuanced ways in which their identity figures into their work—looking at compounded layers of representation, cultural expectation vs. lived experience, and the futurist contexts in which their work as Asian American makers might be seen.
Garrick Imatani is an artist who uses performance, functional objects, or interaction to draw attention to one’s embodied subjectivity. Working in sculpture, photography, video and installation, recent projects focus on reimagining racialized historical erasures into more believable and inspired futures. Past works have included collaborating with illegally-surveilled activists to readjust city archives, re-enacting labor on the transcontinental railroad, and working with the Grand Ronde tribe to replicate their sacred meteorite held in the American Museum of Natural History. His work has been exhibited at the Blaffer Art Museum (Houston), Triumph Gallery (Moscow), Art in General (NYC), Disjecta Contemporary Art Center (Portland, OR), Chachalu Museum (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, OR), Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara, and Portland Museum of Art (ME), among others. He has received grant support from The Andy Warhol Foundation, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, The Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Maine Arts Commission, Regional Arts & Culture Council and Oregon Percent for Art. Imatani holds an MFA from Columbia University, NY and resides in Portland, OR where he is an Associate Professor and Chair of Foundation at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Lynn Yarne is an artist and educator from Portland, Oregon. She works within animation and collage to address collective memory, generational narratives, histories and space. A fourth generation Chinese and Japanese American, her current work explores themes of displacement and loss, resilience and community, particularly within Old Town Portland. She is curious about participatory works, magic, and rejuvenation.
Lu Yim is a movement based artist and teacher. Yim is a co-organizer of Physical Education (PE) and Pidzn Club, two artist-for-artist run groups based in Portland, OR. Currently they are an Artist-in-Residence at Center for Performance Research (Brooklyn, NY).
This exhibition and dialogue are organized as part of Dismantling the House, a series of public programs and exhibitions curated by Yaelle S. Amir, CFAR’s 2020-21 Curator-in-Residence. Programs are made possible by the Ford Family Foundation.