Wayfarers and Ferro Strouse Gallery are proud to present:
Do You Care About This Feeling?
New work by Mitsuko Brooks
Fri, Feb 6th - Sun, March 1st
Opening Reception: Friday, Feb 6 7-10 pm
My recent collages, mail art pieces, and text paintings, are principally concerned with my longtime interests in the power of taste, the (un)certainty of ownership, and the exchange of capital. I often use cropped fragments of appropriated photographs, printed ephemera, and typewriter lettering in my individual pieces. It is my belief that slowness, and stasis, have real purchase during the Information Age. We live in a world where seemingly everyone clutches to his or her smartphone at all hours of the day, waiting to get that next fix of immediate gratification. I believe that my role as an artist is to slow down my audience’s attention. In taking the time to produce each individual work, I hoped to provide my audience, of one person, with a very specific experience, an experience that is different from the traditional relationship that exists between a single maker and a large audience of anonymous viewers. “The medium is the message” coined by Marshall McLuhan argues that formal qualities are essential to communicating specific visual information. Each of these letters took a long time to produce, and each of these letters took a long time to be physically moved across the country. The slowness of the experience: the opening of the package, uncoiling the letter, the examining the handwriting; are all things that are better expressed via paper mail than through a more immediate means of communication. I am attempting to draw from my core artistic influences, namely Fluxus, Gutai, antiart movements, and social practice.
Despite the plodding nature of my aforementioned work, I believe that there is still a thrill-seeking element to the project. I hope to encourage a sense of anticipation, and excitement, in the mind of my colleague who is receiving the works. Additionally, once I place a work of mail art in the post, it is both literally and figuratively out of my hands. The work is now exposed to a host of
strangers who most likely will touch it during the course of being transported. Having lost so many packages throughout my life, there is always the additional risk that any of these works will in fact be lost before making it to the intended destination. I like the idea of putting my heart and hand into a piece before sending it out into the world, not knowing if it will successfully reach it’s destination, or how postmen will react to such an unusual piece of mail in transit. The ephemeral quality, of these works on paper, is a requisite component of my mail art.
My deep-seeded fascination with books may have first been planted during my adolescence when I actively participated in the “zine” culture of the mid1990s. I would create “zines,” small circulation self published artist books, to be traded with others anonymously through the post. Some of my “zines” were even included in a 1996 review by R. Seth Friedman, in Factsheet Five. I have begun to apply some of my experiences participating in the largely preInternet era “zine” culture, to my recent set of text paintings that I’ve chosen to include in my portfolio. Each of these text pieces contains phrasing appropriated from the Internet, regarding broad subjects such as love, relationships, and mental illness that I have now represented through my own material and compositional choices. Much like the “zines” before them, usercomments on relationship blogs present a classic existential struggle, a snapshot of the human condition.
Mitsuko Brooks was born in 1981 on Misawa Air Force Base in Japan, and lives in New York and Los Angeles. She is a current MFA Candidate at UCLA's Painting/Drawing program, and earned her B.F.A. at Cooper Union in New York. Brooks is a member of The Asian American Women Artists Association. She completed artist residencies with The Wassaic Project (2014), The Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (2012), and The School of Making Thinking (2013). Brooks was awarded The Sally Van Der Lier Fellowship, the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc., The Bette Midler Scholarship, and The Resnick Grant. She has exhibited internationally and nationally at The San Francisco Art Institute, California College of Arts, SOMArts, Materials for The Arts, The Center for Strategic Art & Architecture, Rush Arts Gallery, and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. Brooks' artist books, zines and mail art collages are in permanent collections at Smithsonian's Archive of American Art, Canada's Artexte Information Centre and Barnard College's Library in New York.