M’ONMA: TRANCE PILGRIMAGE
MAY 12 - JUNE 18, 2016
Cavin-Morris Gallery is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition of Japanese visionary artist, M’onma, entitled: M’onma: Trance Pilgrimage.
Looking for a cohesive narrative in one of M'onma's drawings is like telling someone about a dream and then realizing that you are losing and changing the thread of the experience as you tell it.... The further you get into the telling, the further you travel from the original memory. It is a lot like a novel or short story by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. Murakami allows himself to abandon concepts of rational sequence when he writes. In a way this brings one back to Surrealist concepts of automatic writing and allowing dream to occupy equal ground with temporal realities. One moves through the narrative without necessarily putting the pieces together. Add a healthy dose of Shinto and contemporary spiritual symbolisms and you begin to get an inkling into the dream world of M'onma.
M'onma drew all of his life, but was never satisfied with what he made. One day when he was in his twenties, he was in a drawing studio and something happened. He felt his entire body begin to glow to the point he could no longer see what was around him. Something guided his hand. The result was entirely different than anything he had drawn before. It was an overwhelming and life-changing experience. He quit his job and went into the countryside, often in the mountains of Hokkaido, and sometimes to temples where he could draw in solitude. If he needed money he would return to an urban center, get a job, and earn enough so that he could leave again for the mountains.
Twenty years passed before what M’onma calls the “entity” visited him again. This time M’onma was ready to acquiesce to whatever was being communicated through his hand. He was channeling something, he wasn't and still isn't quite sure what it was. He drew for decades not allowing anyone to see his drawings, not even those who lived near him. Living in the mountains had taught him patience and the solitary space of the artist.
M'onma is unreservedly visionary, he is not mainstream, he is not a deliberate part of the canon of the art world. His style emerged as a part of an alternative process of art making that is closer to a séance than a dialogue with art history. His style is fully developed and mature. He worked in solitude for nearly forty years before agreeing to show his art to the world. This is his second solo exhibition.
There are layers upon layers of atmospheres inked and drawn into these pictures. One get so caught up in the figures it is easy to overlook the consummate skill of their executions - the smooth manipulation of process into a seamless whole. The graphite and ink works are as intricate as the ones done in colored pencil. One cannot help but see after that various types of beings populate these enigmatic drawings. There are the ambivalent clown-like figures that float in the foreground yet who project no specific evil; there are the more benevolent Buddha, or deity-like figures; there are the half man, half animal figures and there are humans who seem to be caught up in the dream machinations of the overall vision.
M'onma is unique, not only to Japan but internationally. He emerged fully-formed and unexpectedly. Cavin-Morris is thrilled to share his work once again in Trance Pilgrimage.
For further information please contact Cavin-Morris Gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone: 212-226-3768.