Kota Ezawa has made a name for himself by taking the names...and images...of others and digitially remixing them, much like the early rappers. The result is comic, but not comical; often the images are wry commentaries on such things as race, social justice, stereotypes, and pop culture.
If this exhbition, which runs through December 5 at University of Idaho's Prichard Gallery, were just the digital pieces for which Ezawa is best known, then a drive to Moscow might be a little much. However, this display includes watercolor, digital projections and film. Unfortunatley, no etchings.
From University of Idaho's press room:
“Kota Ezawa is very adept at sorting through the accumulation of images and selecting particular moments that speak to the place media holds in society,” said Roger Rowley, director of the Prichard Art Gallery. “The way he transforms source images into their presentation format highlights the process by which images become part of our collective history.”
Ezawa focuses on the contrasting streams of information and media, and weaves together coherent and cohesive statements on the impact of media fragmentation. Images and videos become part of our consciousness through a continual sifting process. These images shape society's view of history and the importance of people or events in a given time period. Ezawa strips away the density of media information through a process of digital animation, heightening the importance of what remains.
This exhibition showcases the use of technology in parallel with traditional imaging techniques. It suggests there are alternative possibilities for the future, as long as the viewer can move beyond the blind submission of a surface reading of the images that bombard society every day and pay more attention to underlying content.
“There is a vapor-ish sense to all the images that swirl around us every day,” said Rowley. “A celebrity breakup, miraculous rescue or the latest crisis are kind of there, even when we aren’t looking. What Kota does gives significance to that presence and also accentuates the distance between us as receivers of images and the many forms of media producing those images.”
In addition to the exhibit, an artist talk will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. in the University of Idaho Teaching and Learning Center, room 040. Ezawa will discuss his previous work and his current projects.
Ezawa was born in Cologne, Germany. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute and his master’s of fine arts degree from Stanford University. His solo shows include Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, Murray Guy in New York, N.Y., and the Hayward Gallery in London, England. Group exhibitions include Museum of Modern Art in New York, N.Y., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Calif., Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris, France, as well as a showing in the Fifth Seoul International Biennale of Media Art in South Korea and the 2004 Shanghai Biennale in China. Ezawa received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2003. Ezawa lives and works in San Francisco, Calif.
The Prichard Art Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery is closed Monday. The gallery, an outreach facility of the University of Idaho, is located at 414/416 S. Main St., on the corner of Fifth and Main streets in downtown Moscow.
Admission is free. Additional information is available at www.uidaho.edu/galleries