Hiro Sakaguchi: No Particular Place To Go

April 2 – August 28, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, April 1, 6 - 8 p.m.

Morris Gallery, Historic Landmark Building

The series of exhibitions by emerging artists continues with a presentation of works by Philadelphia artist Hiro Sakaguchi. A 1996 graduate of PAFA, Sakaguchi creates fictional worlds in drawings, paintings, and sculptures where human endeavor and interconnections are juxtaposed with natural forces in images that explore the tension between dreams and reality. In Sakaguchi’s world, the violent event is defused and diffused through the miraculous transformations that drawing and painting can effect. The ammunition shot from tanks and planes in Explosion Flowers (2010) bursts into a bouquet of colorful blooms, while a volcano erupts in Secret of Mt. Asama (2010) like an engine spitting jetliners into the sky and taking passengers to far off places.

And while, at first, Sakaguchi’s approach might appear whimsical, it is his deliberate disruption of scale and deployment of faux naïf narratives that allow his works to speak openly to the question of how we live and how we imagine we should live. Blending his rigorous education in Western painting with influences from popular comic strips and animation, Sakaguchi composes a collage of the world from found and seen imagery, as well as from observation and memory.”

A native of Japan and living in the States, it is as if Hiro Sakaguchi occupies a space between these two places. It can be thought of as a hybrid space that, while it opens onto both east and west, finds its center in his imagination. Bearing this in mind, Sakaguchi’s exhibition title, No Particular Place to Go, is not so much a commentary on being excluded from his native or adopted lands but, rather, an acknowledgment of his open fascination with wandering between them and absorbing all their influences. Like his watercolor The Climber (2007), Sakaguchi is a traveler on the wing of an aircraft overlooking both the Matterhorn and Mount Fuji. However, while he finds his identity in the conjunction of these two signs, his relationship to the two monoliths is suffused with a nonchalance that ties him to neither.

Born in Nagano Prefecture, Sakaguchi grew up in Tokyo, Japan, and in his twenties came to the United States to pursue a scholarship in the fine arts. A resident of Philadelphia since 1990, in 1993 he obtained a Bachelor's degree from The University of the Arts and in 1996 he was awarded an MFA from PAFA, where he presently teaches in the Continuing Education Program. Sakaguchi has exhibited extensively in the US, Europe, and Japan and is represented by Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia.

Curator: Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art

Leading support for this exhibition is provided by the William Penn Foundation