Baltimore, MD - C. Grimaldis Projects is pleased to present "un•der•cur•rent", a solo exhibition by Hidenori Ishii. Extending from the artist's focus on the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi, the exhibition posits a series of meditations on what utopia might be possible after nuclear collapse and how beauty might persist as landscape turns mutant.
Four paintings entitled "Ekki Múkk" (Icelandic for "quiet here") are fragments of a burnished floral motif based on the traditional woodwork adornment of a late 17th century Dutch cabinet attributed to Jan van Mekeren. Ishii's own painting practice is influenced heavily by 17th century Dutch still lives and their concern with freshness and decay. Rendered with synthetic materials, these flowers appear to be distressed, oxidized copper, as if their metal has been exposed to harsh elements for years.
Copper also forms the support system for Ishii's "Follow the Map" series; breast-shaped cast resin works in neon vitrines which could be lab samples to be tested or artificial body parts for sale. These small, gene-like works might be scattered like seeds, germinating hybrids between biological and artificial, natural and technological.
In new paintings from the artist's "Nostalgia" series, abstracted foliage grows around toxic chain-linked fencing. The reflective pool in "Nostalgia VII" and "Nostalgia VIII" intimates the exhibition's title, suggesting a flow of hazardous material which might nourish or poison its surroundings. Ishii describes these paintings as a response to Monet's water lilies: examinations of how space shimmers between surface and reflection, between visible and invisible.
The works in this exhibition feature the artist's signature use of synthetic resin Kuricoat C-720, a neon-green substance sprayed at Fukushima Daiichi after the reactor meltdown in an effort to resist the airborne spread of radiation. At disaster sites, invisible radioactive material weaves itself into the contaminated environment, redefining space and one's relationship to the body. Ishii's utopias respond to such an undercurrent, hypothesizing the entangled trajectories of objects and their fates; the fate of a vein, an organ, a machine or of a flower.