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Catharine Clark Gallery: Masami Teraoka's Apocalyptic Theater / The Pope, Putin, Peach Boy, and Pussy Riot Galore - 9 Jan 2016 to 20 Feb 2016

Current Exhibition

9 Jan 2016 to 20 Feb 2016

Catharine Clark Gallery
248 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA
CA 94103
North America
T: +1 415 399 1439
F: +1 415 543 1338

Masami Teraoka, Pussy Riot / Swan Lake (2015)
Oil on panel, with 24 karat gold-leaf frame
119 ⅛ x 112 ½ x 2 ¾ inches (open view)

Artists in this exhibition: Masami Teraoka

Masami Teraoka's Apocalyptic Theater / The Pope, Putin, Peach Boy, and Pussy Riot Galore
January 9 – February 20, 2016

San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery presents, Masami Teraoka's Apocalyptic Theater / The Pope, Putin, Peach Boy, and Pussy Riot Galore, a solo exhibition of new and selected work by Masami Teraoka.  On view January 9 – February 20, 2016, the exhibit features four large triptych paintings more than a decade in the making, in which Teraoka continues his brazen portrayals of abusive power.  While shocking and lurid, the exhibit (titled after the villains and heroes in the artist’s theatrical renderings) is also sardonic and impishly humorous: power changes hands, traditional roles reverse, and fates are reimagined. Mirroring the triptych construction of his paintings, Teraoka’s tableaus literally and figuratively open the secretive and dark underworlds of institutional power to Teraoka’s singular brand of unabashed truth-telling, searing criticism, and playful ridicule.   The artist will be present for the exhibition opening on Saturday, January 9, from 4 - 6 pm, with an artist talk at 4:30 pm.

Teraoka’s work in multi-frame panels, wrought in the style of medieval and renaissance religious triptychs, began in the early 1990s as a response to revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Since then, Teraoka has used his stylistic transformation to evocatively explore topics ranging from the invasion of Iraq to Karl Rove to gender stereotypes. In his latest body of work, Teraoka draws on specific current events in which members of the music group Pussy Riot, The Pope, Vladimir Putin, and the geisha Momotarō play central roles. In Pussy Riot/Russian Orothodox Confessors, Teraoka references the band’s 2012 protest performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Tried and imprisoned for ‘hooliganism,’ Pussy Riot drew world-wide attention for their caustic views of Vladimir Putin and the Catholic Church. Here, in Teraoka’s Kabuki-esque continuation of the narrative, Pussy Riot presides over the confessional of penitent priests, giving them, according to Teraoka, “a crash course in Sexuality 101,” which includes their participation in a jumping massage class, seen in the left panel. In each painting, absurdity abounds: Vladimir Putin wears a tutu, a Catholic cardinal is potty-training, and the Pope sports lingerie and high heels.

Teraoka introduces the character of Geisha Momotarō (a currently practicing geisha, whose name means “Peach Boy” in Japanese) as a quintessential example of hybridity and role reversal. Momotarō appears as a victim, a feminist hero, and in her most transformative role, she occupies the role of Pope in The Cloisters / Geisha and Pope. Teraoka both beseeches viewers to acknowledge the real horrors wrought by unchecked power; and remind us that for revolution to occur, we must first imagine the ridiculous, and make it possible. 


Catharine Clark Gallery
248 Utah Street
(Between 15th & 16th)
San Francisco, CA 94103

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