Photograph from The Folk: Japanese Performing Arts (Little More Books, 2016) by Yusuke Nishimura. Image courtesy of the artist

feature / alumni / art / graphic-design / photography-and-imaging
February 03, 2017
Writer: Hugh Hart

4x4 Gallery: Alumni who make art into ritual, ritual into art

Lisa Park

Her own brainwaves serve as creative muse and medium for Lisa Park (BFA 09 Fine Art). Splitting her time between Seoul and New York City, the artist works with biofeedback technology to create performance art pieces involving auditory and visual representations of physiological measurements. For Euonia II, inspired by 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s 48 human emotions, Park wears a brainwave headset that translates mental electrical activity into sound vibrations transmitted through amplifiers to 48 pans of water. “By reflecting vibrations of my mind,” she says, “the surface of the water conveys my emotional resonance with others.


Eunioa II by Lisa Park. Image courtesy of the artist

Yusuke Nishimura

The minute Yusuke Nishimura (BFA 07 Photo) came across majestic folk dancing costumes in a Tokyo temple, he felt compelled to photographically document and honor this unique artform that dates to medieval times. Over the next three years, Nishimura traveled through rural Japan visiting 49 secretive troupes devoted to Shishimai (Lion Dance), Akio notaue odori (Rice Planting Dance) and Toramai (Tiger Dance). His new Kickstarter-funded book The Folk presents a full-color cavalcade of these dancers, dressed in outrageous wigs, gargoyle-like masks and gargantuan robes designed to scare off evil spirits well into the 21st century.

onikinousudaiko_cmyk_adj2.jpg honjinohanagasaodori_cmyk_adj3.jpg
Photographs from The Folk: Japanese Performing Arts (Little More Books, 2016) by Yusuke Nishimura. Images courtesy of the artist

Agustín González Garza

Mexico City native Agustín González Garza (who graduated with a Graphics/Packaging BFA in 1981 and went on to study in the MFA Art program) is fascinated with the dynamics of decay. An artist collected by the National Library of Congress, he’s photographed eerily beautiful books rotted by fungi and, more recently, ancient mortuary rituals still practiced in remote regions of Mexico. Shot entirely on location at gravesites, Garza calls his “Ossuaria” series “portraits of a maternal womb in dialogue between the calcium of the bones and the fabric that bears it, between the organic and the inorganic—silent voices wrapped in a cloud.”

Ossuaira-2.jpg Ossuaira-1.jpg

From the series “Ossuaira” by Agustín González Garza. Images courtesy of the artist

Jennifer Steinkamp

Digital media pioneer Jennifer Steinkamp (MFA 91 Art) captured Manhattan’s attention with Botanic. Filling Times Square’s electronic billboards every night in May, her three-minute film featured floating bouquets of flowering condolence plants, blown by an unseen force, breaking apart and coming back together. Provocative as she is prolific, UCLA professor Steinkamp routinely infuses her hypnotic 3D animations and LED displays with nature-themed imagery. Her digital diorama Garlands 1, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, soothes jangled nerves with slowly swaying strands of medicinal flowers.


Botanic (2016) by Jennifer Steinkamp. Photo by Ka-Man Tse for @TSqArts, courtesy of Times Square Alliance

Unknown Gallery