in the DUMBO, other Brooklyn area
This event has ended - (2009-02-07 - 2009-04-03)
An outsider in a foreign city is confronted with an overload of unexpected sights and sounds that make the experience hard to integrate in one’s consciousness. Lombardi has painted his way through poetic remembrances that help him to internalize his authentic portrait of the non-tourist Tokyo. He paints glimpses of offbeat imagery that project a kind of back street appeal of which most tourists take no notice. These atmospheric pictures seem to flicker like fading memories, just barely within the mind’s reach. Lombardi’s images of Tokyo street scenes are set back in space by graffoo-tattoo symbols. These forms, painted with thick graphic lines over the scenes, function as marks of the artist’s consciousness as he recalls the experiences from his trip. He employs the graffoo-tattoo as a unique ever-changing emblem that embodies the creative-destructive component of graffiti as a metaphor for life’s incessant changeability.
These graffoo-tattoo symbols provide a narrative thread that runs through the series, creating contrast in the images, and stimulating emotional tension in the viewer. The paintings do not depict the high tech post-modern skyscrapers or up to the minute fashionable youth of Tokyo; instead they capture ordinary somewhat old buildings, everyday views of street traffic, Japanese men in restaurants eating with friends, girls celebrating a birthday, or an older woman just crossing a street, but wearing a facemask. Masks are used as courteous gestures if one is sick, to protect others from illness; they are also used against air pollution. In the U. S. masks are worn only in hospitals. Traditional underpinnings are very much alive in Japan. As seen in the painting of men at dinner enjoying a stag night out, there is extensive bonding of same sex groups; there seems to be an even greater schism between the sexes than exists in the United States. Perhaps this is just part of the traditional Japanese way of life. This is the Tokyo that still lingers behind the high-tech veneer.
It is a personal view that is not often presented in the West.
Lombardi’s new sand-coated sculptures also on view, created with sand and found plastic objects, send a message to a consumer culture defined by wasteful consumption. On the sandy side, the sculptures depict small gnome-like boys with Mayan features and mournful expressions, who testify to the wrong-thinking cultural practices of littering that despoils the beauty of the environment, natural and man-made. The emotional expression of one side of the sand figures contrasts with the compilation of plastic leftovers that comprise the exposed internal content. These compelling sculptures reinforce the possibilities for increased emphasis on recycling, an assertion whose time has come in an era of growing joblessness. It is an alarming truth that when we throw used objects “out,” they are merely dumped into our environment. They do not disintegrate but remain intact for years; they don’t miraculously evaporate. By being placed on low stands, the sculptures literally become more vulnerable to damage by gallery visitors. Their imploring expressions seem to beg for understanding; we are perhaps meant to realize that nothing disappears in nature; it is merely recreated in renewed forms.
The sculptures and paintings, in different ways, both tap the necessity to create our own world. In the paintings, Lombardi reinvents experiences called forth from memory, thereby recycling glimpses of his Tokyo adventures. They present an unexpected, personal remembrance of a Tokyo that is largely ignored by visitors. It is a view of the underpinnings that still remain in a city famous for its vast new ultra modern skyscraper towers. The soft-edged nostalgic works evoke memory and the passage of time. These are images recalled of places seen in the rapid pace that a short stay affords a visitor.
Dominick Lombardi’s work can be seen at the Rockland Center for the Arts in West Nyack, NY, January 17 – March 7, 2010.
Rockland Center for the Arts
27 South Greenbush road
West Nyack, NY 10994
Artists:: Cecile Chong, Susannah Frosch, Jen P. Harris, D. Dominick Lombardi,
Lisa Sanditz, Holly Sears and Michael Zansky.