Artist of the Week (05/01/06)
Tracy Nakayama, Sweet Memories of a Stuffed Animal, 2004, ink on paper, 10 " x 13" (image originally found on Bodybuilder & Sportsman gallery website).
Represented in Chicago by Bodybuilder & Sportsman gallery, in Los Angeles by Acuna-Hansen gallery, and currently having an exhibition at our awesome neighbors, ATM gallery here in New York (Tracy's work was also included in the group exhibition of Erotic drawings organized by DiverseWorks and the Aldrich, last year), Tracy's work is the kind that prompts dealers to post a warning on the door. This strikes me as an unfortunate reality, but I'd do the same. Even as loving and beautiful as her subjects are often portrayed, the adult subject matter of her work does warrant advance notice to parents.
Despite their usual lack of clothing, the hairstyles and accessories clearly place many of Tracy's subjects in the 1970's. Her duotone palette strengthens the sense that we're viewing an earlier, perhaps more innocent (or at least less complicated) time as well. Here's an earlier piece:
Tracy Nakayama, Wet, 2001, Ink on paper 39" x 25" (see IKON gallery website).
Again, I find I'm carefully editing here. Many of Tracy's images, which she takes from porn films, are much more graphic than these, often depicting orgies or what looks to be casual sex. But even then, they're defined by gentleness and a sense that sex is fun (a novel concept in some quarters, I know).
Tracy Nakayama, Golden Years, 2003, Ink & goldleaf on paper, 10" x 13" (original image here was found on Downtown for Democracy website).
Not everyone is as prudish as I am, though. A few years back, Jerry Saltz called Tracy's works "cute nudie watercolors." And in a 2002 press release for her exhibition at Modern Culture, Tracy was open about her choices, noting she makes creates "art that turns me on....The work is meant to be seen as neither retro nor kitschy. It is sincere and humble." Here's another two images for the road:
Tracy Nakayama, God Only Knows (image from Howard Tullman's blog, HindSight)
Tracy Nakayama, Mountain Men Wine Jug, 2004, ink on paper, 13" x 10" (image from Bodybuilder and Sportsman gallery website).