sketches, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia, PA, 06.13.01.
Dural Identities, Aisian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA.
|.....It takes a few minutes to see a relationship between Eurhi Jones' sequined and beaded "paintings" and Fujiko Isomura's gold-leafed digital prints. At first, you may be inclined to flit around their two-person show at the Asian Arts Initiative like a bird entranced by shiny objects. But once you settle down, things start to click. Isomura's prints combine Western cartoon and Eastern wood-block imagery in seas of bright gold. Betty Boop stoops to embrace a forlorn young woman in a kimono; Disney dragons scorch Samurai warriors and wicked witches tempt porcelain-faced geishas. Looking at them, one begins to feel that the fluff is being skimmed off the surface of two visual cultures and whipped into a glittering-if not especially crunchy-confection. Jones avoids the dangers of pure surface through labor and crafty (as opposed to arty) clunkiness. Her faux-pearl studded Sushi and Green Tea (with its swirls of sequin steam) are visually appetizing but aggressively inedible-like glam send-ups of wax menu items. Both artists address the construction of feminine and ethnic identity with varying degrees of directness and humor, though their references are coded in ways that can leave you wishing for a more generous or helpful label here and there. But obviously, beneath the bright and shiny surface of the show likes a meaty conversation between two very different, yet complementary artists. And what more could you want than an exhibit that rewards both the glance and the graze?|