Month: September 2012

September 8, 2012

Natural Wisdom
September 8 – October 28, 2012
Woodward Gallery

Opening the Fall 2012 Art Season is Mark Mastroianni’s “Natural Wisdom” exhibition at Woodward Gallery. Mastroianni returns to his unique gessoed tarpaper and mixed media paintings he had begun working with twenty years ago. The once abstract qualities in his work have now shifted toward a representational clarity and yet, Mastroianni continues to convey what he has always evoked so extraordinarily well: the soul of our objective world. The new body of work is imprinted with history: a lifespan, rather than a captured state.

Mastroianni’s transfigured representation creates something far more powerful than technically accurate rendering of familiar objects. Here, the realism of his fences, snowballs, hay bales, and salt mounds, is subordinated to a more primal force leaching from the color and light. The deeply graphic quality of each scene, the hyper-relief of lines and crevices that overtakes each piece, actually removes the representational aspect just enough to startle us. The effect is like that of a dream we recall for its precise details, for the emotional power of those details, made all the more potent because of how distorted they are in the waking reality of our lives.

The magic of Mark Mastroianni’s “Natural Wisdom” is in how each piece triggers our own memory of what it contains. His imagery become the ghosts of our own imprints in life, our own personal associations with common objects.

Here lives the great empathy of this work. Artist Mark Mastroianni has created a series of delivery systems of our own capacity for memory. These littered tree trunks, snowballs, dead sunflowers. The seasonal shifts of light and color, the moody silences and cold snaps. They are our past the moment we step into the work. Their mystery reminds us of ourselves, of how we live inside everything around us.

September 7, 2012


The Four Seasons Restaurant
99 East 52nd Street, NYC


Woodward Gallery is currently featuring Kenji Nakayama’s photorealistic, hand-cut stencil and enamel paintings in the private dining rooms at the historic Four Seasons Restaurant.
Nakayama’s dedication and work ethic is unprecedented and very well respected. A mechanical engineer by formal education, Kenji Nakayama made a significant and resolute life change in 2004 moving from his home in Hokkaido, Japan. Bringing his cultural heritage to the United States, Nakayama incorporates Japanese and American influences within traditional sign painting techniques.

Kenji became involved with street art to document and respond to his surrounding environment, and as a method to capture significant moments in his daily life. His elaborate process involves crafting original, hand-cut, multi-layer stencils which become one complete image when illuminated with colorful spray enamel. This deeply personal technique serves as a diary from start to finish. In the studio, each intricately cut stencil painting often takes months to complete combining hours of concentration with a spiritualistic and
meditative-like disposition.

Soon after Kenji’s arrival to the States, he met Director John Woodward and was challenged with the opportunity to paint the outdoor wall on their Project Space. This was followed by an invitation to exhibit another large scale installation in the Bank of America, SoHo. People were in awe of Kenji’s complex murals. The public continues to show great support by embracing this Artist for his quiet determination, skill and exciting new contribution to our culture.
Kenji Nakayama left his homeland driven to develop and master high levels of detail with an intense discipline in his art. Kenji describes, “My process is like dust. Each little grain and speck adds up, and soon becomes a mountain.”