by Natasha Walter
Karen and Stephen Sugarman are eager to fill a niche in Northeast’s established art scene. Their new space, Gallery 13, is the latest addition to 13th Avenue, aptly dubbed “Art Street.” Their latest show features Minneapolis artist Booka B (Adam Bucher), St. Paul design artist Delphinius6 (Justin Olson) and— most notably—Japanese artist Yasutaka Taga.
Delphinius6’s style of hyper-layering religious images bombards the senses.
In “Dinah (Intelligence)”, the artist incorporates an Orthodox Jew
praying over a passage from the Torah, that exudes complexity. A light emanates
from the piece, illustrating an energy that is both blinding and magnetic. With
all the associations related to the ancient, beautiful and cryptic letters of
the Hebrew alphabet, the image is arresting.
B’s images recall African masks and the urban aesthetic of tagging, or
graffiti. Each painting is composed from clusters of design work that make up
the maze-like body of a contemplative African man. At times very defined symbols
come through, not unlike the characteristic jagged block letters of a tag, or
the more round and peaceful symbol of a Sanskrit “Om.” These images
convey the sense that one is gazing at a stoic sculpture bombarded with the
chaos of life’s roadways. Symbols and gestures are combined in a dense
inner-design of the person gazing outward.
Japanese artist Yasutaka Taga is also included, in what is perhaps the gallery’s
most notable distinction to date. Featured in a book called “Wonder J
Graphix: Weird Yet Awesome Japanese Graphics,” Taga is by no means new
to the art scene. In the book, Taga notes that he begins with “clay solid
illustration” and then applies computer graphics to this comparatively
back-woods beginning. The result is a seemingly three-dimensional flat design
that occupies a stereotypical graphic background, air brushed and solid colored.
The subjects of these bubbly figures are punk-pierced monkeys, cows on surfboards
and Japanese men with comic jaws that droop in anger. Taga succeeds in satirizing
anthropomorphized animals in a way that is simultaneously pristine, comic and
Gallery 13’s show is a bold presentation of what graphic design offers
to fine arts and is admirable in its scope, but those without a savvy eye for
graphics may struggle for meaning. Undisputable, though, is that the new flavor
of Gallery 13 is contributing to Northeast's 13th Avenue art scene. ||
Booka B vs. Delphinius6 vs. Taga runs through Sept. 1 at Gallery
13, 302 13th Avenue NE, Mpls., 651-592-5503. Gallery hours are Thu. & Sun.
1–6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 1–9 p.m.