’The Seed of Peace’
New works from GIORGIKO
Curated by Thinkspace Projects
On view April 26 through May 25, 2023 at:
5 Sun Street, Wanchai Wan Chai
Thinkspace Projects is honored to be partnering with WOAW to present the debut solo exhibition in Hong Kong from the duo Giorgiko. Known worldwide for their enigmatic oil paintings depicting the bold innocence of their childlike protagonists, their universe continues to draw in new fans at an alarming rate.
In this new body of work, Giorgiko presents 25 new oil paintings and ink drawings featuring the artists’ exploration of the search for peace in its different forms and the costs of obtaining it.
Is peace born of conflict, or found in the absence of inner and outer turmoil? Humanity has sought control over themselves, others, and their environments in its pursuit of peace. But if this search for control has not brought us closer to peace itself, perhaps peace can’t be forcefully taken or manufactured. Perhaps it needs to be planted gently.
“The Seed of Peace” follows the journeys of childlike characters through scorched lands, tumultuous storms, and wild dogs in search of shelter. A divine seed that grows into a pure white olive tree stands in gentle contrast to the chaos of the environment, offering the children the peace that they seek. The artist duo draws inspiration from the sacred story of Christ’s self-sacrificing death and resurrection to bring peace to many – a story paralleling the death and rebirth of a seed, which grows into a new plant and offers shade to all who would rest under it. The artists invite viewers to join them and their characters as they contemplate their own sources of peace in its temporal and lasting forms.
Giorgiko (pronounced jee-OR-jee-koh) is the moniker of husband-and-wife artists Darren and Trisha Inouye. Giorgiko’s work deals with the affective dimension of the human experience through their childlike characters and mysterious dogs who represent the innocence and carnality of the human spirit and soul.
The moniker ‘Giorgiko’ is a play on the artists’ middle names: George and Songyi. Giorgi means ‘farmer’ or ‘earth-worker’ in Greek, while ‘-ko’ is the Japanese suffix for ‘child’. The resulting meaning of ‘earth-working-child’ represents Giorgiko’s ethos of depicting emotions through the eyes of a child.
Giorgiko’s work combines the simple sweetness of Trisha’s characters with Darren’s street influence, classical painting techniques, and playfully anachronistic elements, allowing their characters to transcend space and time. Through the harmonious blending of classical and contemporary in their paintings and drawings, Giorgiko explores recurring themes of feeling displaced, discovering empathy, holding onto hope, and retaining innocence. Characters in urban clothing seem stranded in the wilderness, while characters with historical attire loiter in apocalyptic urban landscapes. Long-forgotten space dogs dream of home, and so do pink-haired girls. Through moody landscapes and childlike characters, Giorgiko hopes to create a universe paralleling our own that opens a window into seeing ourselves and others sincerely and truthfully in all of our flaws and beauty.
Darren and Trisha first met during orientation at their alma mater ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Trisha hails from a Korean immigrant family in the San Francisco Bay area and was always drawing instead of doing homework. Meanwhile, Darren is a 4th generation Japanese-American from Los Angeles who fell in love with street art in his youth. They sat next to each other in Design 1, and the rest is history. The creative duo resides in the greater Los Angeles area with their twin children.
Giorgiko has exhibited their work in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.
About WOAW Gallery:
WOAW Gallery is a contemporary art gallery established in 2019 by Hong Kong-based entrepreneur, curator, and collector, Kevin Poon. He is the consummate networked creative figure, acting as a hub and a filter through his many entrepreneurial and artistic projects. Fuelled by Poon’s love for art and inspired by the years of building relationships and realising collaborative projects around the globe, WOAW presents itself as a dynamic, flexible and multifaceted hub for artists, curators, galleries, and entrepreneurs.
Beginning in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, WOAW has since added a flagship gallery space in 9 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, an outpost in Beijing’s iconic Blanc Art Space, and recently opened its latest venue in Singapore’s Ann Siang Hill in 2023.
WOAW gallery continues to focus on presenting contemporary artworks by established and emerging international artists, collaborating with leading experts and taste makers from around the globe, and bridging the cultural trends between Asia and the West.
About Thinkspace Projects:
Thinkspace Projects was founded in 2005; now in LA’s burgeoning West Adams District, the gallery has garnered an international reputation as one of the most active and productive exponents of the New Contemporary Art Movement. Maintaining its founding commitment to the promotion and support of its artists, Thinkspace has steadily expanded its roster and diversified its projects, creating collaborative and institutional opportunities all over the world. Founded in the spirit of forging recognition for young, emerging, and lesser-known talents, the gallery is now home to artists from all over the world, ranging from the emerging, mid-career, and established.
The New Contemporary Art Movement, not unlike its earlier 20th Century counterparts like Surrealism, Dada, or Fauvism, ultimately materialized in search of new forms, content, and expressions that cited rather than disavowed the individual and the social. The earliest incarnations of the Movement, refusing the paradigmatic disinterest of “Art” as an inaccessible garrison of ‘high culture’, championed figuration, surrealism, representation, pop culture, and the subcultural. By incorporating the ‘lowbrow,’ accessible, and even profane, an exciting and irreverent art movement grew in defiance of the mandated renunciations of “high” art. Emerging on the West Coast in the 90’s partly as a response to the rabid ‘conceptual-turn’ then championed on the East Coasts, the Movement steadily created its own platforms, publications, and spaces for the dissemination of its imagery and ideas.
Though the New Contemporary Art Movement has remained largely unacknowledged by the vetted institutions of the fine art world and its arbiters of ‘high culture,’ the future promises a shift. The Movement’s formative aversion to the establishment is also waning in the wake of its increased visibility, institutional presence, and widespread popularity.
Thinkspace has sought to champion and promote the unique breadth of the Movement, creating new opportunities for the presentation of its artists and work. Though still very much invested in the elevation and exposure of its emerging talents, the gallery, now in its 13th year, has come into its own with a roster that reflects this maturity. An active advocate for what is now one of the longest extant organized art movement’s in history, Thinkspace is an established voice for its continued growth and evolution.
The gallery has in recent years expanded its projects beyond Los Angeles, exhibiting with partner galleries and organizations in Berlin, Hong Kong, London, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and Honolulu among many others, participating in International Art Fairs, and curating New Contemporary content for Museums. Committed to the vision, risk, and exceptional gifts of its artists, the gallery is first and foremost a family. From the streets to the museums, and from the “margins” to the white cube, Thinkspace is re-envisioning what it means to be “institutional.”