Tim Okamura’s “Women in White/Bushwick Walls”

If you’re in the Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) area, make sure you drop by Adjunct Faculty member Tim Okamura’s show of work:

Up through Saturday, July 19th, 2008

The Women in White/Bushwick Walls series was inspired by a desire to investigate the symbolism of the color of white in several different contexts, while at the same time creating a connection to the “urban collage” that has manifested itself on the walls of the buildings in my neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

While focusing on the walls that were at one time white, “blank canvases”, I observed a fasinating build-up of signage, new and torn posters, random felt marker “tags”, stenciled street art, and more refined graffiti pieces that together formed a complex motif of cultural iconography.  Tempered by peeling paint, rust stains, and decay, this motif served as the basis for my approach to creating “backgrounds” that interact with the subjects of the paintings in a very direct way, the fragments of political and pop culture references interwoven with warning signs, and spray-painted stencils.  Graffiti-lettered words contain moral precepts which effuse hopefulness or cynicism – sometimes both – while in some cases bringing attention to the psycological relationships between the women themselves.

All of the women in these paintings are clad in white, or mostly white, with the intention of examining popular connotations of this color such as purity, innocence, virginity, and virtue – qualities often traditionally ascribe to women as being positive attributes – as well as the lesser known meanings such as while as s symbol of mourning (particularily in Asian cultures).  This in turn led to a scrutiny of many “white” phrases including “white wash”, “white wedding”, and “white lie”, many of which ending up becoming words on “signs” that were collaged onto canvas and eventually covered with layers of paint.

As the significance of “Women in White” changed in context with each subject and contemplation continued of the implications of attributing specific meaning to color, I considered on important argument of basic color theory: white itself in techinically not a color, but a reflection of all colors.

Douglas Udell Gallery
10332 – 124 STREET
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5N 1R2

Congrats, Tim!