Exhibition | SWING | Contemporary Art at Dab Art Co | LOS ANGELES | Art Week


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Thursday, 13 February 2020 to Sunday, 29 March 2020
Saturday, 22 February 2020 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Dab Art is pleased to present SWING, by bay area artist Glen Moriwaki. This site specific installation will inaugurate the opening of the gallery’s new location in Downtown Los Angeles. Solemnly titled, SWING is a completely immersive exhibition examining forced relocation and incarceration. Drawing from his family’s experience during the Internment of Japanese Americans in WWII, Moriwaki takes on the empiricism of family separation from a child’s perspective.

A rectangular chainlink enclosure, topped with barbed wire sits imperfectly at the center of the gallery, containing within it a single wooden swing. While the exhibit’s focal point is eerily highlighted by an era specific lamp, the viewer is drawn to the light source, compelled to walk around the enclosure. As the sound of time ticks away and the observer’s eyes begin adjusting to the room’s dim glow, the the final dimension of the installation is revealed. In a monochromatic multi-panel format; depictions of birds in flight consume the gallery walls and surround the steel sculpture.

Using light and shadow, Moriwaki creates an unusual but implicit dimension to his installation. By stating the obvious, SWING initially deceives the viewer to accept what is indisputably at the forefront. Only as the viewer moves around the center sculpture in the area between the bird and cage, does the work’s final metamorphose take place.

Curated by Yessíca Torres de Marín


Artist Statement

During WWII my parents and grandparents were imprisoned, along with everyone else they knew on the West Coast, for being Japanese. (Decades later, too late for most, the United States Government issued a formal apology).

In the ensuing decades of their lives afterward, they for the most part never spoke of that experience. Oppression is not only imposed from without—it can be internalized. If so, how is one truly free even after release from bondage? How does one trust and move forward in life?

Because I was not a witness, my on-going series of artworks deals instead with the residue of injustice, how it affected ordinary people as I was growing up. The echoes of internment are subtle, layered, stifled. These works are made up of parts and fragments. I’ve variously employed collage, mixed media, multi-panel, and multi-media approaches to match the fragmentary way that information and emotion about my family’s lives during that time has come down to me—in snippets of conversation, in bits and pieces of memorabilia.

Up to this point I have used the images of birds-in-flight to explore the historical and familial experiences of Japanese American internment during WWII. Recently my focus has shifted beyond the Internment. This kind of ordeal has happened many times in the past and it happens now on our border and in many places around the globe. Once again certain groups are targeted, threatened with forced removal, and their loyalty questioned. Families are separated. The current artwork at Dab Art has become an installation sparked by the question: what happens to the incarcerated child?

Glen Moriwaki

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Glen Moriwaki is a Bay Area native and a third generation Californian.. His work has been exhibited in San Francisco, Hawaii, and France.  Glen paints large abstract or semi-abstract acrylic works on paper and canvas, often employing mixed media, collage, and found-objects. His current work includes a series of very large multi-panel paintings, some of which are permanently installed in public spaces.  Each painting is comprised of images painted on many discrete canvases, which are then assembled into un-preconcieved compositions. 

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My abstractions emerge out of the actions and circumstances of making them. Formal decisions about dividing up space, value contrast, and especially color guide my initial efforts. I try not to have preconceived ideas in the way, but I do try for sparseness and plainness of effect. I try to make areas of the painted surface that at first glance seem too blank but on second glance hold the viewers’s attention without embellishment.

And yet I’m not really a purist about abstraction, at least not anymore. If I get really stuck and can’t move forward with a painting, I may go to collage in the hopes of jump-starting the painting. That opens the door to all sorts of allusions, references, and associations that come from the world of things, places and times. A scrap of wallpaper,.a faded color swatch, pencil marks, a scumble of paint, all can be the triggers to spark unexpected and/or long forgotten memories and feelings.

This serendipity can shape a clearer path to resolution than through formal composition alone. And, when meaning is generated in this area, as if by intuition I trust it as opposed to when I consciously try to shoehorn content into a work. That usually ends up just an illustration of an idea.

Increasingly, the focus of my attention is on the kind of cross-over, hybrid, eclectic energy of the present which I experience everywhere around me and I want my art to reflect and participate in it as well. In this anything goes moment, my values and perspectives are thrown up for review. It is refreshing to say the least.


B.A., M.A., M.F.A. (Painting 1981) UC Berkeley


2019 - Present, Dab Art Co., Los Angeles, CA

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334 S Main Street, No. 5001

Los Angeles, California


Other shows from Dab Art Co.

Artist Talk | Zara Monet Feeney
Departure Theory
06/17/2017 to 07/30/2017
PAPERWORK | Group Exhibit



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