For his first exhibition in D.C., New York City-based painter Tim Okamura unveils a collection of eleven portraits depicting women who were primarily born and raised in the D.C. area, and have witnessed the city’s evolution over the last few decades.
Tim Okamura is perhaps best known for his portraits of Hollywood celebrities and his commanding depictions of African-American and minority subjects set against Brooklyn facades. Born in Edmonton, Canada and educated at the Alberta College of Art & Design and New York’s School of Fine Arts, Okamura was shortlisted to paint an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth in 2007 and selected nine times to appear in the prestigious BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. A recipient of the 2004 Fellowship in Painting from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Okamura has exhibited throughout galleries in the U.S. and Canada.
Once referred to as the “Caravaggio of our time,” Okamura expertly blends seemingly disparate styles – Baroque, Realism, and Graffiti – to create striking portraits capturing the raw energy of urban culture while evoking the ageless allure of storytelling. In coupling his subject’s dramatic, Baroque lighting with the edgy, Graffiti-laden architectural backdrops he infuses each work with a gripping dynamism and masterfully blurs the line between the individual and their environment, with the end result being the city and citizen fuse into a singular portrait.
Working closely with Okamura over the past year we invited him to immerse himself in our U Street neighborhood and introduced him to artists, musicians, socialites, members of the military, mothers, daughters, and even “spiritual sisters.” The eleven women portrayed in Depicted/Connected have experienced first-hand D.C.’s evolving character from the tumultuous lows and transformational highs – witnessing the city’s battle with crime and poverty, gentrification, the emergence of Go-go music, and the election of our nation’s first African-American president. Okamura describes his experience coming to know D.C. through the stories of these women and unexpectedly the broader connection their narratives revealed: “The women in these paintings are depicted as seen through my self-constructed lens - one that has formed over time through my life-long fascination with the emotionally expressive power of the human face. I view my subjects through this lens in an attempt to document a spiritual resonance, which transcends outward appearances and challenges preconceived perceptions. I have sought to celebrate these women as individuals, connected to their environment, but also to discover through them metaphors for greater aspects of the human condition - connected to all of us.”
And don't miss the Depicted/Connected Artist's Talk with Tim Okamura on Thursday, October 17th at 6:30pm!
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Depicted/Connected is part of Art4All DC (September 13-October 6) presented by Cultural Tourism DC. A complete calendar of events can be found at CulturalTourismDC.org or art4alldc.org.
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 11am-5pm, Saturday, 11am-3pm, and by appointment.
Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery is located at 1632 U Street, in Northwest DC
Learn more about the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
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All of our specially featured Jackson Family Wines are available for purchase at Calvert Woodley!