Tim Okamura, "Japanese Girl," 2005, oil, spray on canvas, 60" x 39".
Preview of TIM OKAMURA, Urban Portraits and Brooklyn Mythology
Axis Contemporary Art, Art Central, Calgary
May 18 -28, 2006
By Dina O'Meara
The wary eyes of a young woman stare out at the viewer against the backdrop of a graffiti-layered city wall, a phoenix spreading its wings above her head. The oil painting is as rough as its concrete backdrop, from heavy brush strokes to knobby splatters that give a textured realism to portrait artist Tim Okamura’s work. “My move to New York from Calgary (in 1992) affected this idea of including the environment in a portrait,” Okamura says. “It’s about people making their mark, leaving a trace of their presence.” Okamura paints urban creatures in their milieu: street-wise New Yorkers who for the most part are his friends, rendered with a warm classical hand. In Urban Portraits and Brooklyn Mythology, Okamura, who also teaches painting and drawing at Parsons and the City University of New York, moves away from portraiture to more intricate themes — the recasting of ancient archetypes. “My next concrete series is based on figures of Native American mythology, ones that appeal to me and I can imagine in a modern retelling,” he says. “I’m excited about the progression from portraits toward staging narratives.”
Represented by: Axis Contemporary Art, Calgary; Delgado-Tomei Gallery, Brooklyn, New York.