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LUCID DREAMING

New Drawings by M'onma January 9 - March 22, 2014

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CAVIN-MORRIS GALLERY NEW YORK, NY


LUCID DREAMING: New Drawings by M’onma January 9 – March 22, 2014 Looking for a cohesive narrative in one of M'onma's drawings is like telling someone about a dream and then realizing that you are losing and changing the thread of the experience as you tell it.... The further in you get into the telling, the further you travel from the original way you remember it. It is a lot like a novel or short story by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. One needs to move through the narrative without necessarily putting the pieces together. Add a healthy dose of Shinto and contemporary spiritual symbolisms and you begin to get an inkling into the dream world of M'onma. Murakami also must also allow himself to abandon concepts of rational sequence when he writes. In a way this brings one back to Surrealist concepts of automatic writing and allowing dream to occupy equal ground with temporal realities. M'onma had drawn all of his early life, but was never satisfied with the results. One day in his twenties, while in a drawing studio, something happened. He felt his entire body begin to glow to the point he could no longer see what was around him. A presence guided his hand on the paper. The result was entirely different than anything he had drawn before. It was an overwhelming and life-changing experience. He continued to draw after this, but it was how it had been before the “visitation”. He quit his job and went into the countryside, often in the mountains of Hokkaido, and sometimes to temples where he could draw in solitude. If he needed money he would return to an urban center, get a job, and earn enough so that he could leave again for the mountains. It was twenty years before what M’onma calls the ‘entity’ visited him again. This time the artist was ready to acquiesce to whatever was being communicated through his hand. He was channeling something, he wasn't and still isn't quite sure what it was. He drew for decades before allowing anyone to see his drawings, not even those who lived near him. Living in the mountains had taught him patience and the solitary space of the artist. M'onma doesn’t speak much about his process but it would seem that letting go of his own intellectual control of his visual narrative is indeed a very important part of it. He does, however, feel it is a divine force moving through him. It is something he needs to do. He is living and recording those waking crystalline dreams, giving himself totally over to whatever they are communicating. He feels as though they are uncovering a parallel civilization through him--revealing anthropological and archaeological as well as spiritual realities. But he doesn't necessarily have the code to articulate the messages, only the images. As in dreams there are some things that repeat drawing to drawing: crosses, telephone poles and wires, grimacing clown-like beings and references to body parts. But there is also a sense of alternate dimensions that move in and out of this temporal plane. Good and evil are both present and in a place of interlocking cohesion. Nature is felt but not emphasized; everything has an equal sense of animism. This is the link with Shinto; but these are not Shinto drawings. The reference is the intermingling of animate and inanimate. If this is another world it is the “entity’s” visionary experience of it.

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There are layer upon layer of atmospheres inked and drawn into these pictures. One get so caught up in the figures it is easy to overlook the consummate skill of their executions - the smooth manipulation of process into a seamless whole. The graphite and ink works are as intricate as the ones done in colored pencil. One cannot help but see after a while that various types of beings populate these enigmatic drawings. There are the ambivalent clown-like figures that float in the foreground yet who project no specific evil, there are the more benevolent Buddha or deity like figures, there are the half man, half animal figures and there are humans who seem to be caught up in the dream machinations of the overall vision. It is too easy in his drawings to reference anime and popular culture imagery while looking at his drawings although they do share that suspension of disbelief, and the phenomenon of looking at something unreal depicted clearly. That comparison glosses the profundity of the work. M'onma is not classic Art Brut but he is unreservedly visionary, he is not mainstream, he is not part of the canon of the art world, his style emerged as a part of an alternative process of art making that is closer to a sĂŠance than a dialogue with art history. His style is fully developed and mature. He worked for nearly forty years in solitary before agreeing to show his art to the world. These drawings are not necessarily meant to answer anything. They are too involved to be simple Zen koans. M'onma is unique, not only to Japan but internationally. This is his first one-person exhibition. He emerged fully formed and unexpectedly. Cavin-Morris is honored to share his work in Lucid Dreaming. Randall Morris, New York 2014

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Untitled, 2013 Colored pencil on paper 15.55 x 12 in / 39.5 x 30.5 cm IMo 48 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 4


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Untitled, 1999 Graphite on paper 13.875 x 20.25 in / 35.2 x 51.4 cm IMo 20 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 6


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Untitled, 2003 Ink on paper 14.25 x 20.25 in / 36.2 x 51.4 cm IMo 26 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 8


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Untitled, 2006 Colored pencil on paper 10.125 x 14.25 in / 25.7 x 36.2 cm IMo 35 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 10


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Untitled, 2001 Colored pencil on paper 19.88 x 4.72 in / 50.5 x 12 cm IMo 7 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 12


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Untitled, 2001 Colored pencil on paper 16.3125 x 21.5 in / 41.4 x 54.6 cm IMo 22 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 14


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Untitled, 2007 Colored pencil on paper 21.26 x 28.74 in / 54 x 73 cm IMo 43 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 16


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Untitled, 2001 Ink on paper 13.39 x 20.94 in / 34 x 53.2 cm IMo 41 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 18


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Untitled, 2002 Colored pencil on paper 10.24 x 28.54 in / 26 x 72.5 cm IMo 42 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 20


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Untitled, 2007 Colored pencil on paper 12.8 x 21.65 in / 32.5 x 55 cm IMo 44 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 22


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Untitled, 2002 Colored pencil on paper 13.25 x 28.5 in / 33.7 x 72.4 cm IMo 28 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 24


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Untitled, 2010 Colored pencil on paper 20.67 x 14.37 in / 52.5 x 36.5 cm IMo 45 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 26


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Untitled, 2000 Colored pencil on paper 19.29 x 10.94 in / 49 x 27.8 cm IMo 6 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 28


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Untitled, 2001 Ink on paper 18.5 x 13 in / 46 x 33 cm IMo 10 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 30


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Untitled, 2001 Colored pencils on paper 16.31 x 21.5 in / 41.4 x 54.6 cm IMo 27 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 32


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Untitled, 2002 Colored pencil on paper 22.5 x 17.75 in / 57.2 x 45.1 cm IMo 29 M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 34


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Copyright Š 2014 Cavin-Morris Gallery Cavin-Morris Gallery 210 Eleventh Ave, Ste. 201 New York, NY 10001 t. 212 226 3768 www.cavinmorris.com Catalogue design: Mimi Kano, Marissa Levien, & Sam Richardson Photography: Jurate Veceraite M'ONMA < LUCID DREAMING 36

Lucid Dreaming: New Drawings by M'onma  

This catalog documents M'onmas' first one person show....He is among the most visionary of self-taught artists working today.

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