The new art exhibit “Mamma- San,” curated by Young Chung and presented by Artist Curated Projects, premiered at the art gallery on Saturday.
“This is a fairly explicit show,” said gallery director Roger Dickes, scrambling to make final adjustments to pieces. “I don’t like to stand in the way of my guest curators and I support this exhibit fully.”
Lucas Michael, co-creator of Artist Curated Projects, said, “The show is called ‘Mamma-San,’ so in some ways a few of the pieces reflect that.”
Some of the artists took this idea more directly, like Judi Bamber, who created a series of four graphite drawings entitled, “Are You My Mother?”
“The drawings are based on Polaroids my dad took of my mom,” Bamber said.
One artist who addressed this idea more indirectly was Laura Splan, who created a print of two artificial hearts tied together entitled, “Integrated Hearts.” “There is something very umbilical about her piece. She even painted some of it with her own blood,” Michael said.
As the event pressed on and more people started to make their way into the gallery, Chung looked at everyone there with a large smile. “I’m very happy with the way that this entire show turned out,” he said.
The atmosphere of the gallery was very different than previous shows that it has hosted, which included television screens in the middle of the galley showing three different videos. The viewer could also put on headphones and hear audio along with them.
There was even an interactive piece entitled “Stethoscope,” also by Splan. The piece is actually a 25-foot-long functional stethoscope. The viewers are encouraged to listen to each other on opposite ends of the table where the piece sits.
“This show was originally supposed to showcase historic places,” Michael said, in a way it still does, because each artist who was selected for the show either has a connection with Chung or with UC Irvine, Chung’s alma mater.
In explaining how he chose the works for the show, Chung said, “I chose the artist before I chose the work. I did not really have specific criteria I used to select each piece.”
In choosing the title for the show, Chung explained that the term “Mamma-san” is very historical and is used in Japan today to describe a madam in a brothel. “One of my friends actually said to me, ‘You know Young, in a way you’re kind of like the Mamma-san of this show.'”
Chung also said that he didn’t enter this show with any specific themes in mind, and even though some of the pieces did incorporate the use of their mothers, each of those pieces had more than one meaning.
Chung also said that if there was one message he would want the viewer to walk away with, it would be, “There are multiple realities and truths in this world and difference is OK.” He also said that he does not expect instant feedback, but that if this show helped to inspire one person to be more open he would be happy.
“This show was a lot of work, but I’m very happy with the way that it turned out,” Chung said. “We were on a small budget but I did my best to get my message across, and I am honored to have worked with Roger and all these amazing artists.”
“Mamma-San” may be viewed in the art gallery until Dec. 5. The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, call Dickes at 818-240-1000, ext 5815.