NEW YORK, N.Y.—New York art gallery Mighty Tanaka is mounting a new show for the spring called Seeing Double, featuring the tantalizing photography of Ellen Stagg and the captivating vinyl work of Hiroshi Kumagai. The opening reception is April 12; the show will run Wednesdays through Sundays until May 2.
"Springtime allows us the freedom to release the shackles of a cold and dark winter and gifts us the ability to be completely rejuvenated within an upbeat new world," said a spokesperson for Mighty Tanaka of the Seeing Double exhibit. "Yet, as the flowers rise once again to meet the changing climate, so does our pulse with the temptation of desire. Restrictive clothing is shed and the essence of pheromones drifts through the air and entices the soul. We are reawakened to the most instinctual of desires, that of eroticism and temptation."
Seeing Double pairs two erotic art powerhouses side by side within this uninhibited exhibition. Mutually influenced by one another, both Ellen Stagg and Hiroshi Kumagai represent different approaches to analog art, as they each represent a unique perspective to the erotic art form. Together, they create an abstract realism that plays with the senses and invigorates new ideas within the interpretation of the art form.
Ellen Stagg has been a photographer since she was 16 years old. She moved to New York City in 1996 from Connecticut to attend the School of Visual Arts where she received her BFA in Photography. In over a decade of her career as a professional photographer she has worked in advertising, fashion, and portraiture, shooting for various magazines, look books, stock photography, and celebrities. Since the age of 16, Stagg had a particular interest and fascination with erotic art. Upon meeting erotic model and porn star Justine Joli, Stagg started exploring erotic photography. She began shooting well-known porn, fetish and glamour models.
Hiroshi Kumagai's path, however, was quite different.
"Since the late 1990s, my work has involved the creation of conceptually based sociopolitical portraitures," Kumagai explained. "In 2006 I began utilizing vinyl and images of quintessential American family and popular culture items to address issues on gender roles, the fragility of family dynamics, underlying threads of violence and danger that underpin American society. ... I was interested in intimate quality of images of people who are engaging in online video chat. I aim to expand on the issue of interpersonal communication in modern days and research how old communication methods are being replaced by new technology and how human psyche is affected by the change."
Stagg and Kumagai utilize a number of techniques to achieve a low-fi medium within a digital age. From the lens of a Lomokino camera that mirrors the grainy qualities of Super-8 home movies to the steady hand and exact nature of precisely executed vinyl work, Seeing Double displays the qualities and flexibility of the way we choose to interpret eroticism and the ability to expresses ourselves.
Stagg’s pieces will feature imagery of models including adult performers Justine Joli, Kelly Shibari, Jelena Jensen, Stoya, Lily LaBeau, April Flores, Masuimi Max, Charlotte Stokely and more.
"This is the first time I have worked with moving pictures and a Lomokino for an art show," Stagg said. "It’s new and exciting to work with a new medium, but that still uses real film."
Stagg has been working with a Lomokino, Lomography's 35mm manual film camera, for over a year, making mini silent films with some of her favorite models. The Lomokino takes a regular 35mm roll of film and makes about 140 long panoramic frames instead of 36 photo negatives. She scans in the strips of film and cuts out all 140 frames, then puts them through iMovie to transform the stills into a 30-second long mini-film. The clicking Stagg adds is from the actual sound that the Lomokino makes while she films these movies with the hand crank. She has then selected frames from the Lomokinos to print as movie stills on canvas to show an excerpt from each film. These films are reminiscent of the 1970s Super-8 home movies, but more modern with Stagg's sexy naked models in stripteases or with fun unusual props or just naked outside in random locations.
The Mighty Tanaka Gallery is located at 111 Front Street, Suite 224 in Brooklyn, NY 11201. The opening reception for the exhibit will take place April 12 between 6 and 9 p.m., while the closing reception will take place on May 2, also between 6 and 9 p.m. Between those dates, the exhibit will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:30 p.m.
For more information, phone 718-596 8781 or email here.