Track 16 Presents:
ENRIQUE CHAGOYA:  utopiancannibal.org
November 18 – January 20, 2000

smart art press catalogue

Santa Monica, 19 October 2000—Track 16 Gallery is pleased to announce two new exhibitions: Don Ed Hardy’s 2000 Dragons and Enrique Chagoya’s utopiancannibal.org, both running from November 18, 2000 through January 20, 2001, with an opening reception on November 18, from 6–8 p.m.

2000 is a Year of the Dragon in the Asian zodiac. California artist Don Ed Hardy has created a 4' x 500' scroll painting of 2,000 dragons to commemorate this auspicious dawning of a new millennium. This is an expanded version of a venerable Asian tradition, specifically inspired by the Southern Sung dynasty (mid-13th century) dragon painter Ch'en Jung, whose most famous work, the Nine Dragon Scroll, is in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The Asian dragon is a composite symbol of all the powerful and beneficial forces of nature, and is particularly related to water from the skies, oceans, and rivers. It is the primary embodiment of the notion of cyclical renewal and life force. Hardy has studied Asian mythology and dragon lore for over 30 years and lived, studied, and worked in Japan. A 1967 graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute (which awarded him an honorary doctorate, Spring 2000), Hardy became known for developing the potential of tattooing as a sophisticated art form in the West, based on Japanese tradition. Since the late 1980s his paintings, prints, and works on paper have been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally.

The concept for 2000 Dragons first occurred in 1976, another dragon year (the Asian zodiac revolves in 12-year cycles). The painting was executed during the first seven months of 2000 in acrylic on a support of synthetic Tyvek material, light, strong, and archival. The images range from one-inch hieroglyphic marks based on ancient Chinese bronze dragon forms, to 30-foot-long creatures undulating among explosive clouds, waves, and rain forms. Brush work moves from explosive splashed "zen painting" to meticulous detail. Emulating classic Chinese and Japanese picture scrolls, the painting presents a journey that progresses through periods of time and weather changes. Accompanying the primary scroll are a number of individual vertical dragon paintings in the same variety of styles.

2000 Dragons will be exhibited in its entirety from November 18, 2000-January 20, 2001 at Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica, California. The exhibit will be accompanied by a 16-page color booklet with details of many parts of the scroll and a short film by award winning documentary filmmaker Emiko Omori of the artist at work on the scroll, as well as the entire 500 foot painting.

ENRIQUE CHAGOYA:  utopiancannibal.org

The work of Mexican-born artist Enrique Chagoya addresses issues of multiculturalism and globalism, history and popular memory, colonialism and cultural imperialism, pop culture and art history, with a biting satire that illuminates the hypocrisies of contemporary life. His work draws upon a variety of visual traditions and cultural stereotypes, icons of both high and low culture: popular super heroes, Disney characters, political figures, fragments from the work of European Masters from the Renaissance through the twentieth century, Catholic imagery, and pre-Columbian iconography. In his recent work, Chagoya has inverted Western cultural traditions by assuming the point of view of a “primitive” artist mining the art and culture of Western Europe, as European artists like Gauguin and Picasso mined the cultures of Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

His exhibition at Track 16 Gallery, utopiancannibal.org, includes satirical works based on nineteenth-century prints as well as a series of codex pieces consisting of oil an acrylic paint on bark paper. With this new work, Enrique Chagoya continues to challenge the viewer to think about familiar imagery in new ways and to understand the complex cultural politics of the new world order.