Surface Unrest

Miyako Yoshinaga, New York, New York, 01/05/2017 - 02/18/2017

547 West 27th Street, 2nd Floor


From January 5 to February 18, 2017, Miyako Yoshinaga is pleased to present Surface Unrest, a group exhibition featuring works by four emerging/midcareer artists Dana Levy, Taro Masushio, Anh Thuy Nguyen, and Margeaux Walter. The show is curated by Yinzi Yi, an independent curator who is also an assistant at this gallery. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, January 5, 2017 from 6pm to 8pm.

A camera is generally considered as a freezing gun that shoots, congeals, and objectifies the moving world around us. Surface Unrest microwaves and defrosts these photographs in order to unleash the vibrant forces inherent in the trajectory of the images' formation. While most of the time these innate forces are not visible, this exhibition attempts to reveal how they can shatter the photographic medium by intruding, swinging, fracturing, and fidgeting. In this exhibition of work by four artists, human figures take shape first as printed surfaces, and then as bodies transfigured into a video projection, a 3-D lenticular, a folded sheet, and a pigment transfer on stones.

In Dana Levy's Intrusions: A Ghost From The Future (2014), a video of a present-day public space in a historical mansion is projected onto four vintage photographs of the same space once inhabited by Mark Twain, Arturo Toscanini, and other distinguished intellectuals. The juxtaposition of the original rooms and the present space illuminate the layers of space and time.  In this theatrical setting, a ghostlike female (the artist herself) appears as an intruder from the future and gradually meets the past by touching the age-old walls, windows, mantles, etc.

Similarly, Margeaux Walter's works set human figures in motion. Acquiescence (2009) and Reflex (2009) are 3-D lenticulars of modular portraits in which the subject (Walter) in an all-white outfit moves uneasily within confined spaces as the viewer walks by. The uniformed figure and cubicle space reflect a post-modern digital culture, and yet, the movement in the photos express the emotional distance generated by technology.

 Shun (2013) by Taro Masushio is a photo installation with a half-folded photo sheet suspended from the ceiling.  A boy's face, shown only in halves, is candidly captured in his awkward transitional age of adolescence. The viewer cannot have an overall perception of the boy's countenance and loses a sense of orientation as the image swings in the air. 

In Anh Thuy Nguyen's work Burden (2015), fragmented photographs of female bodies are transferred onto an arrangement of one hundred stones and presented as a ruin. The psychological and physical pressures women's bodies bear from the male gaze -- objectification, menstruation, childbirth -- are relieved through the abandoned yet preserved qualities of the stones, which are not petrified or dead, but enlivened objects that deliver force.

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Dana Levy

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