Facing East

Contemporary Asian Art

March 4 – April 2, 2011

About This Exhibition

Sundaram Tagore Gallery presents Facing East, a group show of works that transcend cultural boundaries. The show includes contemporary artists of Korean, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Uzbeki-Israeli origins.

The artists—Natvar Bhavsar, Kim Joon, Nathan Slate Joseph, Sohan Qadri, Hiroshi Senju, Robert Yasuda, Nhat Tran, Amina Ahmed, and Taylor Kuffner—use of a wide range of mediums including dry pigment, crushed minerals, steel, paper, new media, and lacquer. The diversity of the artistic approaches attests to the enormously diverse nature of contemporary Asian art and also encourages cross-cultural dialogue, which is the gallery’s central mission.

With the exception of Taylor Kuffner, who is from the West but lived in Asia and studied Balinese music—all these artists have deep roots in Asian culture but are diasporic. They live and work between cultures, which gives their work a dynamism and duality, with elements from both the East and West.

Nhat Tran, an artist of Vietnamese origins, creates modern forms through the ancient Urushi lacquer technique. Urushi is a substance that is tapped from various species of Asian trees, the artist uses this viscous organic soap to coat her works, creating a compelling array of textures, colors, and luster. Over time, the colors of Urushi lacquer grow richer and more intense. Tran’s non-traditional use of Urushi on wood merges a contemporary aesthetics with an ancient Asian craft form.

Amina Ahmed works in a variety of different mediums ranging from charcoal drawing on paper to mixed media, yet all her works reflect a deep appreciation for organic forms. Ahmed is a Kutchi Turk Indian born in Africa; she spent her childhood in England and currently lives in New York.

Taylor Kuffner is an American artist who studied ancient Balinese music while living in Indonesia. His sound installations reflect the notion of East-West dialogue, moving the viewer/listener through time and space.

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