06 July 2021

Kamrooz Aram and Yuji Agematsu, To be (gifted) or not to be, that is the question!

 Kamrooz Aram’s “Maghreb Drapery” (2020), a diptych filled with wax-pencil arabesques, in the group show “Field of Vision.”

Credit...Kamrooz Aram and Peter Blum Gallery

Here are two different kinds of artists which captured my interest the other day. I picked them off the NYT. I am not sure what it is about them that I felt, except perhaps a sense of organic unity in their expression. And their content expresses vastly different pictorial ideas. Even better!

In Aram's diptych of Arabesques's, there is a musical harmony which seems grounded in the muted  palette of colours. They are together but also separate. I have tried to look at them apart from one another but they don't appear to work. They possess a symbiotic identity much like two similar siblings.

Yuji Agematsu’s “zip: 11.01.18 … 11.30.18” (detail), from 2018, a series of sculptural assemblages displayed in “vitrines” made from the cellophane wrappers from cigarette packs.
Credit...Yuji Agematsu and Miguel Abreu Gallery

Yuji Agematsu offers up a selection of off-beat assemblages which exhale the sensibilities of Japan. They, too feel unified in a very real and organised way and this comes always (I think to myself) because it was created by someone with an innate sense of Form.  Originally from Japan he emigrated to New York a few decades ago. He collects street debris from daily walks and carefully archives them in those small paper cellophane packets he carries. Using these, he creates his own miniature world of eccentric light humour. 

With so many people now making "ART" everywhere, there is inevitably a lot of interesting work being done but which doesn't necessarily possess the mysterious and concretely organic element of Form. Is it is cultural? Is it educational? Why do some people naturally 'have it' while so many others struggle to find it? But fake it, when they don't find it?

Writing this down suddenly takes me to another place of discussion, though quite related.

I recently came across the work of two painters. They are a couple in fact, and he has the reputation, but she does not. Yet to see even one image of hers is to understand that her work is vastly superior to his. She possesses the gift, the innate thing which makes a painter, a painter. He, on the other hand, (and though being a teacher with the reputation) lacks this quality. His work only swims around the globe of the gift while hers lives in the center of it like a goldfish. How to explain?? 

Some people just have it while others spend years trying to acquire it in vain. 

I am happy that everyone tries to acquire it, that a world of people enjoy making art, but often there isn't an understanding of just what separates a gifted artist from all the others.

The conundrum!

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