no one's ever gonna love you, so don't wonder
February 28 - March 29, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, 37 West 57th Street
introducing...THE HOUSE OF BANDO
March 5 - April 27, Salon 94 Freemans, One Freeman Alley
Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art and Salon 94 Freemans are pleased to collaborate on exhibitions featuring artist iona ROZEAL brown, in her first solo shows with each. The galleries coincided their shows to highlight brownʼs multiple mediums and expansive imagination. Both bodies of work represent chapters in the artistʼs ongoing myth "on spirit children and the like," an ever-expanding pantheon of other-worldly, gender-unspecific, cross-cultural spirits.
introducing…THE HOUSE OF BANDO, at Salon 94 Freemans is comprised of a series of painted portraits of Benny and Javier Ninja, of the Legendary House of Ninja, along with Monstah Black. The performers were all featured in "the battle of yestermore," the artistʼs critically lauded commission at the 2011 Performa festival. The three formed the House of Bando with brown as homage to Bando Tamasaboro, the famed female impersonator or onnagata of the Kabuki stage. The exhibited paintings are derived from photos taken for an upcoming collaboration with photographer Joshua Cogan and, as installed, reflect the artistʼs own take on Byzantine iconography.
Five new paintings, including a diptych measuring five by eight feet, will be featured at Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art. The new works reflect brownʼs continued fascination with the ukiyo-e woodblock prints of late-Edo period Japan, in particular the works of 19th century printmaker Utamaro Kitagawa, who was widely considered as the greatest exponent of this style of woodblock prints. rozeal brown referenced the artist and his work in her earlier a3 blackface series. The Japanese tradition of erotic art, Shunga, continues to play a strong role in ROZEAL brownʼs work with intimacy emphasized over ostentation in the imagery. Titles of the works are loosely based on verses of the Song of Solomon as well as hip-hop rhymes. Additionally, the artist incorporates a haiku poem on the back of each.
Brown also mines the rich cross-cultural territory of the ganguro, a subculture of Japanese adolescents that sports tanned skin, bright makeup, blonde wigs, and gold chains, in order to model themselves after the stereotypical African- American hip-hop look—the word ganguro translates literally to “blackface.” Luxury accessories like strands of pearls and oversized gold jewelry are featured throughout brown’s compositions, on display with overlaid irregular patterns and painterly drips on raw woodgrain in brown’s signature approach to figuration.
iona ROZEAL brown is a native of Washington DC and a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University. In addition to her Performa commission, the artist has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; MoCA Detroit, MoCA Cleveland; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. She currently lives and works in New York City.