Bryan Ohno Gallery
In 1999 Bryan Ohno wrote on the About page of this website:
When I drive through the streets of downtown Seattle, one of the public sculptures that consistently captures my attention is Isamu Noguchi's Landscape of Time at the Federal building on Second Avenue. It does not attract me because it's flashy--in fact many people barely notice it because it blends into the city environment so naturally. Once you encounter it, however, you are captured by the dichotomy of nature versus man made. Landscape of Time is a unique set of granite stones juxtaposed in an asymmetrical garden-like composition. This seemingly random composition draws you into the space, encouraging a type of dialogue. As I enter Landscape of Time, we seem to greet one another as old friends. For me, good sculpture invites you to participate in the space in which it exists.
For many years, sculpture functioned as statuary form--the perfect Greek body carved in marble or the bronze war hero proudly perched upon his horse. Today, sculpture has been incorporated into the vocabulary of contemporary art, yet we are still struggling with how to live with it. Because almost everyone grew up with some form of art on the walls of their home, paintings and prints are an acceptable art form. When it comes to three-dimensional sculpture, however, most of us panic. We seem to have difficulty finding space for it. Why is that? I think one has to make a conscious effort to create the necessary space it requires. That doesn't mean physically expanding our living space. There are wonderful ways it can be displayed--on the floor, on the wall, on the ceiling, or hanging in the middle of the space. Artists at my gallery are exploring new ideas about where sculpture fits into the individual's life. It is exciting to think of the many ways sculpture can be a participatory rather than an intruding element in space.
Dale Chihuly adopted this idea in the Chandelier Series. Through these new works, Chihuly has redefined the way sculpture functions in space. Chihuly once told me that the idea for these chandeliers came while in Spain at a small, old café. This restaurant had a chandelier hung right at eye level, not above as they traditionally are. What intrigued him was how a different hanging point could create such a personal interaction. It excited him so much that he decided to create hanging sculpture that embodied this concept for his Seattle Art Museum exhibition in 1992.
In my own way, I am working to encourage interaction between sculpture and the individual. Recently, I expanded the gallery's exhibit space by over 5000 square feet through the addition of a basement gallery. With the added space I am able to display a variety of sculptures in different mediums--wood, stone, metal, clay and glass.
The current exhibit has drawn some controversy because of the materials used in the huge paper mache sculptures gracing the outer lobby. Jason Tuu's work is known for the incredible textures he achieves - his secret, and the reason for the controversy, is toilet tissue. I discovered Jason when he was still working as a janitor at the Art Council. He had constructed elegant forms using products from the custodial closet. There was a gorgeous humming bird made from paper towels. After experimenting with all of the paper products, including paper dishes and towels, he settled on toilet tissue because of how easily it was to work with and the controlability of the material. If you didn't know this back story, the sculptures should look just as amazing, no? With this in mind, I welcome you to visit my new space.
- Bryan K. Ohno
To learn what is now happening at the Bryan Ohno Gallery go to: bryanohno.com/home/index.html
521 South Main Street, Seattle WA, 98104
Wednesday - Saturday 12 - 5pmand by appointment