Miyako Yoshinaga is pleased to present Trade Winds, a solo exhibition of photographic works by Yojiro Imasaka, from September 13 to October 20, 2018. This is Imasaka’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. The opening reception will be held Thursday, September 13, 6-8pm. The New York-based artist will be present.
Developed over several sojourns on the island of O‘ahu, Imasaka’s newest series, Trade Winds, captures a vision of Hawai‘i far removed from its postcard-perfect beaches. Instead, his photographs transport us to an overgrown landscape, where the crispness of each leaf, frond, and branch is sporadically disrupted by moments of blurry focus, a result of the wind that inhabits the forest. These “trade winds” gently course through every corner of the island all year round, affecting its temperature, air quality, even ocean currents by their presence or absence. Imasaka reflects: “Every time the wind touches me, my mind drifts with it back in time. Using my large format film camera and a slow shutter speed, I seek to capture the wind that has shaped the entire history of the island of O‘ahu.” The natural environment in Imasaka’s work is nearly absent of human presence, with only the occasional glimpse of a dirt path and a few varieties of flora marking evidence of intervention (The coconut palm is not native to Hawai‘i but appears among the foliage). These subtle moments reveal the brevity of human memory set against a landscape in constant motion and incremental change.
Imasaka’s process is marked by a distance, both geographical and chronological, that fills the space between the moment the image is captured in film and the moment that image is revealed in the darkroom. For the artist, the darkroom process is “meditative,” forcing him to slow his pace and fully engage with the imagery he is unearthing. His alterations of color and saturation are a means of rekindling the elusive memory of a place. The recent chain of volcanic events on The Big Island have resonated with the artist’s insights: “Recently, while in my darkroom in New York City, I heard the news that a volcanic eruption in Hawai‘i had forced people to evacuate […] I uttered to myself ‘History repeats itself.’ Humankind and our existence account for so short a moment in natural history. It [nature] was here long before us, and it will be here long after us. And then I came to wonder: these photographs that I’m looking at right now, are they of the past, present or future?”
Born in 1983 in Hiroshima, Japan, Yojiro Imasaka lives and works in New York City. He received a BFA in photography at Nihon University College of Art in Tokyo and went on to study at New York’s Pratt Institute from which he earned an MFA in 2010. Imasaka’s work has been exhibited in North America, Asia and Europe, including Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo) and Paris Photo 2017 (Paris). Solo exhibitions were held at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery (New York) in 2013 and 2016. His work is represented in the permanent collection of the San José Museum of Art (San José), Mead Art Museum (Amherst) and Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis). The artist’s second monograph Trade Winds with an essay by Rory Padeken, Associate Curator at San José Museum of Art, will be available in September in conjunction with this exhibition.