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'Western New York Collects: Josh Iguchi' at Castellani Art Museum

by jmaloni
Thu, Mar 14th 2013 01:50 pm

Next in the Castellani's "Western New York Collects" series will feature works by Josh Iguchi

The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is featuring works by Josh Iguchi in the second installment of its new series, "Western New York Collects." People who attend the opening reception from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, will have an opportunity to meet the artist and hear him talk about his work. "Western New York Collects: Josh Iguchi" runs through July 21.

Western New York Collects is a new exhibition series that highlights the work of a diverse range of visual artists with Western New York connections who have gained significant national and international recognition. Selected from Western New York collections, both public and private, this ongoing series also honors the role of local collectors in creating an enduring artistic legacy for this region. Its goal is to reveal the varied, but always vital, relationships between artists and collectors.

Iguchi states that his work explores "traditional Catholic iconography as it may appear in a contemporary context. Today, religious services can be piped in via satellite, and a week of prayer is advertised in supermarket tabloids. Although this may seem to trivialize religion, it is important because it shows how religion has adapted itself to modern venues of communication. It also shows how religion may have the capacity to change to meet the needs of people today."

The artist's work incorporates modern devices like neon lighting and contemporary objects such as furniture and clothing, which are used together with poses and gestures drawn from religious renaissance paintings. The result is a combination of the grandeur of historical religious paintings with contemporary media-driven religious imagery. Iguchi adds, "Assimilating current ideas, materials and techniques to represent traditional imagery sets up an irony that plays with our conventions and expectations."

Dr. Amelia Gallagher, associate professor of religious studies at Niagara University, writes: "Josh Iguchi ... seems to treat his religious subjects gently, if not reverently. ... Iguchi's figures seem almost nostalgic - harking back to scenes of the old masters - scenes of salvation and saintly sacrifice. The iconic scenes are familiar to any student of the Renaissance, and Iguchi referenced Caravaggio in his statements on these works, achieving a chiaroscuro by the light of an unearthly electric glow. They are shocking to us, nonetheless, because of their placement in the ordinary."

Iguchi was co-director (in conjunction with AnJanette Brush) of Big Orbit Gallery in Buffalo from 1993-96. With a number of well-received and supported landmark exhibitions, Iguchi and Brush transformed Big Orbit into a reputable Buffalo arts organization.

After leaving Buffalo in 1996, Iguchi moved to Chicago, where he established his career in custom photographic printing for clients including major fashion companies and the Chicago Bulls. He later relocated to New York City to manage Ralph Lauren's in-house photo lab. After several years, Iguchi moved, within Ralph Lauren, to a position outsourcing production for in-store and showroom artwork. With 15 years experience with the Ralph Lauren Corp., his current title is director of photographic and graphic services. Iguchi currently resides in Stamford, Conn., with his wife, Laura Di Gioia, and their daughter, Josephine.

The Castellani Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information about "Western New York Collects: Josh Iguchi," contact Michael Beam, curator of collections and exhibitions, at 716-286-8286, or visit http://www.castellanimuseum.org.

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