Wooden Robots and Sho+1

posted in: Art, Projects 0

In 2021 I was fortunate to join the Sho+1 Gallery in Tokyo. Although it is a relatively new gallery started in 2017, I’ve known the owner for many years and he has been a long time follower my commercial work in Japan and also my fine art practice. The gallery is located in the Ueno area of sprawling Tokyo which is as-far-as-I-know a new place for fine art galleries. Ueno is famous for Ueno Park and nearby Tokyo University. I’ve been there a few times and it is a great place see museums, a zoo, stroll around a huge park and explore many interesting shops and restaurants. I’m like a tourist guide for Ueno!

Because of the logistics of working with a gallery in Japan we have decided to focus on building new relationships with collectors and fans featuring new small works. At first I saw this as a limitation, but it has turned into a opportunity to work at a comfortable scale, and explore my urge to make magical toy-like beings.

I’ve started a new series of constructions which I’m calling “Wooden Robots.” The forms are inspired by my usual deep-brain muses, Gumby, Alexander Calder and Pop-Art with additional love for retro science fiction spaceship control consoles. Plus an obsession with electronic musical instruments with lots of knobs, buttons and lights.

On display at Sho+1 Gallery in Tokyo

So far I feel like these constructions are trying to say something positive about technology: that it can be fun and non-threatening – instead of the usual “Terminator” or “Matrix” apocalyptic storyline. Maybe I’m trying to suggest a re-consideration of the technology designs around us and re-introduce color, play and imagination to the minimalist black and silver boxes that are pervasive. (I’m typing on a metallic gray smooth minimalist laptop as I write this.)

Fortunately I do not know what the meaning of Wooden Robots is. That will be your job as followers and collectors of my artwork.

Models 1 and 2 are about 6 inches high. Model 2 is 13 and Model 4 is 11 inches high. The materials are acrylic paint on wood, with wire, ceramic elements, glitter paper, craft foam rubber and wiggle eyes. All four created spring 2022.

Sketches of possible future wooden robots

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