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Hiroyuki Nakamura, The Sky Above

Thierry Goldberg Projects
5 Rivington Street, 212-967-2260
East Village / Lower East Side
November 20 - December 20, 2009
Reception: Friday, November 20, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Thierry Goldberg Projects is proud to present The Sky Above, new paintings by Hiroyuki Nakamura.

With his characteristic deadpan clarity and sun-bleached palette, Nakamura stages an imagined American West peopled by wannabe cowboys who play out their lives in skinny low-rise denim and Stetsons. This is a West free of gun slinging, mellowed in a kind of hip rural suburbia where rebels seem more like David Bowie than Billy the Kid.

Nakamura’s characters mix fashion and identity in such a way that they bear the slightest trace of their origin. So one is left with something like a kabuki-cowboy-glam-rocker. For instance, their white faces may allude to the traditional makeup of Kabuki theater, the rodeo clown, or the stylized androgyny of glam rock performers. In this way they have created their own traditions out of the myth of the West.

Having left Japan for the United States when he was 11-years-old, Nakamura grew up with an American childhood and spent much of the time traveling across the country. When asked about his relationship to Japanese art he responds with a detached regard through an American frame of reference.

Nakamura’s visual language alludes to Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood as well as to Manga masters like Katsuhiro Ôtomo. He has been painting for several years but was initially trained as a photographer. The performative quality of his early photographs carries on in his paintings, where the figures pose with a keen self-awareness in a staged surrounding.

Hiroyuki Nakamura was born in Hamamatsu, Japan and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He holds an MFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts in New York and a Bachelor’s in photography from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Nakmura’s work was recently included in Making a Home: Japanese Artists in New York at Japan Society, and in exhibitions at The Bronx Museum; Mehr Gallery; and Gallerí Ágúst, Reykjavik, Iceland.
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