Monday, December 4, 2023

Hebru Brantley: “Traveling Without Moving” | Nanzuka Underground

NANZUKA is pleased to present “traveling without moving,” a solo exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based American artist Hebru Brantley at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND (Jingumae, Shibuya)

Hebru Brantley was born in Chicago, USA. He earned a B.A. in Film from Clark Atlanta University and has a background in design and media illustration. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, actively producing a wide variety of works ranging from murals to paintings, sculptures, and installations. His major exhibitions include “Saints & Shepherds” (Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 2021), “I Wish I Knew (What It Felt Like To Be Free)” (August Wilson Center, 2016) and “Parade Day Rain” (Chicago Cultural Center, 2015).

Brantley is heavily influenced by the AfriCOBRA movement that took place in Chicago’s South Side from the 1960s to the 70s, and sees murals and graffiti as inseparable from his own African American genealogy. His work challenges the stereotypes of conventional hero figures and protagonists as they are depicted in American culture, and communicate a contemporary narrative that serve to instill viewers with diverse perspectives. Employing the methodologies of character design, Brantley’s style incorporates a variety of colors and pop art motifs to express positive contexts of nostalgia, kindness, strong spirit, power, and hope. Such work has gained tremendous support from younger generations of Americans who attempt to overcome racial issues that continue to significantly impact society. Among his oeuvre are works that feature FLYBOY, an original character wearing large pilot goggles, inspired by the African Americans who fought in World War II and the “Tuskegee Airmen,” the first African American aviation unit in U.S. military history. The theme of such works is an exploration of the macrocosm of “dark fiction,” where “dark” refers to identity, origin, and ideas, which are woven together to form a single narrative. It is with this unique concept that Brantley created FLYBOY, who looks up to the sky like a hero, and is character that exists within the canon alongside the likes of Mickey Mouse and Batman.

This is Brantley’s first solo exhibition at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND, following his 2021 show “Mythos Opus Three,” which was held concurrently at 3110NZ by LDH kitchen and NANZUKA. The artist himself describes this exhibition as, “a personal creative journey through discussions about movements related to cultural identity, spirituality, and growth (or lack thereof).”

“The concept of this presentation relates to my personal creative journey through a discussion of cultural identity, spirituality and movement as it pertains to growth (or lack thereof).
In today’s day and age where movement feels accelerated, this body of work recognizes and studies the kind of growth associated with movement. Our current generation is marked by the idea of ‘going viral’ – where growth is achieved without development, status is attained without accomplishment, where challenges are not seen as a necessity in order to succeed. I’ve demonstrated this movement through depictions of rockets and missiles, and the speed in which they move. Conversely, the opposite type of growth is brought to the foreground – a spiritual, emotional, and cultural voyage within oneself. Traveling without moving is approached in multiple ways – the meditative state in which one becomes enlightened, how music travels sonically, or the manner in which close relationships within families or communities facilitate individual and collective thought – and eventual internal growth. There is an inherent maturing process in understanding where one came from and through this, where one needs to go. Sometimes it is through the perceptions (both positive and negative) of others and how we choose to carry, persevere and move forward, that an authentic sense of identity begins to be achieved. This presentation is a distillation of these concepts and a parable of the times, formed by a linear narrative that tells the story of Flyboy’s journey to space.”  -Hebru Brantley

Taking as its theme this parable of the times, formed by a linear narrative that tells the story of FLYBOY’s journey to space, the exhibition features an installation of a rocket measuring over two meters in height and a selection of around 13 new two-dimensional works.
This exhibition is a joint project with MEGUMI OGITA GALLERY in Ginza, and the two exhibitions will be held concurrently at the respective galleries.

We look forward to welcoming you to the exhibition.

Hebru Brantley: "Traveling Without Moving" | Nanzuka Underground

Hebru Brantley: "Traveling Without Moving" | Nanzuka Underground

Event Title: Traveling Without Moving

Event Description: NANZUKA is pleased to present “traveling without moving,” a solo exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based American artist Hebru Brantley at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND (Jingumae, Shibuya)

Start date: November 15, 2023

End date: December 24, 2023

Location name: Nanzuka

Address: 3 Chome-30-10 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

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