Space 1026 has a show entitled “New Work and Then Some” that spans the globe from Tokyo to Los Angeles to Philadelphia. Three artists – Ako Castuera, Rob Sato and Ryohei Tanaka – grace the walls of the gallery with a glut of work from ceramics to paintings, graffiti-inspired works and cut paper.
Rob Sato hails from Los Angeles and paints surreal watercolor scenes that range from floating house-like forms and soldiers on horseback to planes and disassembled human bodies. Many of these recognizable images are pieced together with flat blocks of color. In the case of “Downstream Death Machines,” a propeller-fitted airplane is cobbled together with smaller planes, engines, bicycles and at least one whale, and the objects are generally easy to identify. With a painting like “Cache”, the silhouette of a human body seems barely tangible, falling to pieces or in mid-formation. The bits composing this figure are almost completely abstract blocks and bars, some of them emerging from what appear to be drawers or wooden crates.
Also from Los Angeles is Ako Castuera. Castuera adds a three-dimensional component to the show with tiny ceramic creatures which are mostly decorative, but also potentially functional. Many of her sculptures are based on animals, both living and extinct. A recurring visitor is the notoriously unintelligent dinosaur stegosaurus, which makes an appearance in at least three pieces. Four tiny, wall-hanging masks go together in a series of creatures both aquatic, in “Oceanic Visitor,” and terrestrial in “Magic Ears,” “Yowl” and “Fire Flower Elk.” Some of Castuera’s vessels are non-representational and appear like they could pour liquids, while others take on the shapes of humans and bristle with flowers, making for vases with slightly humanist slants.
Last, but certainly not least, is Ryohei Tanaka, who came out to the opening all the way from his nativeTokyo. Much of Tanaka’s work is done using a paper cutting technique which often leaves him with symmetrical mirror images. Think of the snowflakes children cut in wintertime art classes, but make them considerably more discerning and precise and in the shape of monsters or people. Some of Tanaka’s work is more graffiti-based, lending itself to grotesque and chaotic scenes like in “The Mental” or cuter, more amusing content like the cartoony bowling ball and personified pins in “Bowling Pins.”
All three artists bring a lot to the table for this show curated by former Space 1026 member Kris Chau. They offer fresh work to a Philadelphia audience in a variety of mediums with a somewhat gritty, DIY feel. From ceramics to cut paper and watercolor, this show is crowded with work and presents art for a wide range of tastes.
Space 1026 is located at 1026 Arch St. (second floor), Philadelphia; 215-574-7630 or email@example.com; space1026.com.