The quiet breathing of a nameless forest

    2017.04.27 ( thu ) -2017.05.03 ( wed )

    ARTIST Yuko Bito


    2017.03.30 ( thu ) -2017.04.15 ( sat )


    hpgrp GALLERY NEW YORK is pleased to announce “Speak Easy” by photographer Sarai Mari from March 30th to April 15th, 2017.


    Sarai Mari is a Japanese fashion photographer who has worked in New York, London, and Tokyo. After beginning her career as a photojournalist, Mari transitioned to fashion photography, her work appearing in the likes of Interview, Harper’s Bazaar International, Porter, Numero, and Vogue Japan shooting the likes of Adele, Tom Hiddleston, Amy Winehouse, and Scarlett Johansson.


    Much of her work is inspired by Helmut Newton for his erotically charged representations of strong women. Mari’s book Naked, a monograph of female nudes published in 2011, is the culmination of two years of work around the subject of femininity and female sexuality, suffused with Mari’s provocative interpretation of female strength.


    In March 2017, Mari will release her second book via Damiani Books, Speak Easy, inspired by the gender roles men and women play within society. By celebrating all definitions of gender and sexuality, the previously defined terms fall away. They lose their meaning; and there is nothing left but the raw expression of the subject in the image. Subjects featured in the book include Clara Paget, Hikari Mori, Janice Dickinson, and Sonoya Mizuno.



    Artist’s Statement

    Since I was a child, I have rebelled against these rules and these societal definitions. We all share a desire to be understood, to be accepted and approved of. In our radically changing and highly judgmental society, people are often scared of being isolated or left behind. So they conform to fit in. But in adhering to an outside perception of oneself, we are unconsciously denying our true selves.

    I have become obsessed with discovering the true people behind the masks. What lies hidden beneath the skin is often much more beautiful than which is projected outward. Since I was young I have seen a simple transparency in the complex relationships people have with each other. I am obsessed with hidden secrets. I break down the layers through my lens and the mask falls away, revealing an intimate vulnerability that makes time stop.

    Japanese Samurai Fashion

    2017.02.28 ( tue ) -2017.03.25 ( sat )

    ARTIST Everett Kennedy Brown

    hpgrp GALLERY NEW YORK is pleased to announce “Japanese Samurai Fashion”, an exhibition of mixed media images by Japan based artist and cultural interpreter Everett Kennedy Brown. In conjunction with the March anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake the exhibition will be held from February 28th to March 25th, 2017.


    Using wet plate collodion photography and advanced digital techniques Brown presents a multilayered visual experience that offers uniquely fresh and powerful insight into the rich cultural tapestry of samurai fashion, as it continues to exist in the lives of the people living in Soma, Fukushima (the site of the recent nuclear disaster).


    Through his friendship with Michitane Soma, the 34th generation head of the Soma warrior clan, Brown was given access to photograph the local people of Soma, who have been continuing their samurai horseman heritage for more than 800 years. Though Brown has exhibited and published his work widely in Asia and Europe, this is his first solo exhibition in New York.


    The “Japanese Samurai Fashion” exhibition presents two major bodies of work. Using antique lenses and wet plate glass negatives, Brown took portraits of 44 Soma residents wearing traditional samurai costume that they wear in the annual “Nomaoi (Wild Horse Chase) festival. In exposures of 10 seconds the men, women and children draped in formal samurai wear that have been handed down from generation to generation, reveal a soul and strength of spirit that transcend time and space. Brown’s exceptional images capture old layers of Japan that ask fresh new questions into the meaning of history and represent important cultural documents that will be sources of study and insight for time to come.


    In Brown’s second body of work presented in the exhibition, using advanced digital techniques, he juxtaposes two major elements of Japanese aesthetics. His color images articulate the flamboyantly colorful “Kabuki-like” aspects of Japanese culture that stand in contrast to the subdued “wabi sabi” aesthetic revealed in his classic wet plate black and white images. Based on color photographs Brown shot of 108 samurai horsemen, the images vividly focus our attention to the rich tapestry of color and design to be discovered in samurai fashion.  The cultural importance of this body of work is evident in that these images ask serious questions for the first time ever about the origins of samurai fashion motifs and their influence from South East Asia, India and Middle Eastern textile traditions.


    According to respected critic and cultural icon, Seigo Matsuoka, "In the history of Japanese photography, no other foreign photographer has documented Japan with deeper insight."  In this exhibition, Everett Kennedy Brown has brilliantly fused tradition and innovation to provide fresh new insight into aspects of Japanese culture that have not been explored until now.


    Copies of his new book “Japanese Samurai Fashion” will be available for purchase and signing at the reception party on Feb.28th.