Noriko Shinohara, New York, USA 2015
THIS IS THE LAST MONTHLY EXHIBITION @ La Petite Mort Gallery!
La Petite Mort Gallery Presents:
Noriko Shinohara: New York Sighs
Postcards made exclusively for LPM Projects
Curated by Cayllan Cassavia and Guy Bérubé
August 7 – 20, 2015
Vernissage: Friday August 7 / 7-10pm
Photograph of the artist by Robert Warhover, New York, USA.
La Petite Mort Gallery is pleased to announce that we will be presenting an exhibition of new drawings by New York based Japanese artist Noriko Shinohara. New York Sighs is an exhibition of small, post-card sized drawings mailed from New York to Ottawa by Noriko herself, as requested by Guy Berube, director of LPM Gallery. The works will feature scenes from the artist’s series “Cutie & Bullie”, a semi-autobiographical retelling of Noriko’s life with her husband, Ushio Shinohara.
Biography and Statement:
Noriko Shinohara is an independent Japanese-American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. A multi-disciplinary artist, Shinohara has expressed herself through painting, sculpture, writing and etching, but is best known for her semi-autobiographical drawing series Cutie & Bullie. The series inspired the 2013 documentary film Cutie and the Boxer, which focused on Noriko’s 40-year marriage to famed Japanese artist Ushio Shinohara, and highlighted the artist’s characters in animated form.
Born and raised in Takaoka, Japan, Noriko Shinohara left her home at the young age of nineteen to study at the famed Arts Student League in New York City. Shortly after her arrival she met her future husband, Ushio, and gave birth to the couple’s first and only child, Alex, in 1974. Shortly after giving birth, Noriko’s parents cut her off financially.
Making the Brooklyn neighbourhood of DUMBO her home for the past few decades, Shinohara has quietly carved out her own space within the studio she shares with her husband; dubbed her “Queendom”, one may not enter this space unless personally invited. From her established Queendom, Shinohara was finally able to work diligently on the artwork she was forced to suppress due to the demands of raising a family and supporting her husband’s rising career. Looking, at once both inwardly and at her outward surrounds, Shinohara created a character to narrate her life’s story and channel her innermost feelings into: Cutie, while similarly creating a character to represent her husband, which she called Bullie.
The series unfolds as a sequence of vignettes from Shinohara’s life, tracing her arrival as a teenage art student landing in New York City in the 1970s, up until the present day. Channeling the frustrations she felt as a young woman and mother who was forced to suppress her natural artistic proclivities, she focused on re-telling her story from her own perspective, using her innermost feelings to guide her.
NEW YORK SIGHS explores the meaning of mobility in Shinohara’s work, linking the home she established to another location: Ottawa. The concept is simple: continuing the story of Cutie & Bullie, Noriko will create exclusive post-card sized works for LPM Gallery and mail them to Canada from Brooklyn. The exhibition takes inspiration from two novellas written by Noriko: Hell of Raising a Child, and Sighs of New York. The two novellas were illustrated accounts of the artist’s life and the exhibition aims to take this self-referential practice further: blurring the lines between fact and fiction, NEW YORK SIGHS continues the narrative thread of the work. The act of telling one’s one story is not a mere form of documentation, but a powerfully subversive act that allows oneself not to change the past, but to reclaim one’s own life through art.
Each piece is a reflection, a revelation: a sigh from New York.
– Written by Cayllan Cassavia