「陶德・詹姆斯是個別具一格的傢伙，他經常創作出十分有趣的作品，再把你帶進屬於他獨特的世界。」— 葛萊美獎得主及饒舌歌手菲瑞・威廉斯（Pharrell Williams）
陶德・詹姆斯是美國80年代和90年代街頭藝術的代表畫家之一。他自十幾歲起便以REAS的名字涉足紐約塗鴉界，其作品對當時的年輕人產生了巨大的影響，是驅動當時地下文化（Underground Culture）的象徵。他亦曾與野獸男孩（Beastie Boys）、伊吉・帕普（Iggy Pop）和阿姆（Eminem）等人合作。他在2000年開始進軍藝術界，與巴里・麥吉（Barry McGee）及史蒂芬・鮑爾斯（Stephen Powers）合作舉辦展覽《街頭市集》（Street Market），並攜手打造一條滿佈塗鴉的紐約小巷。其後，這個展覽獲邀代表美國參展 2001年威尼斯雙年展，也巡迴到東京的帕爾科博物館（Parco Museum），引起了世界各地的關注。近年來，詹姆斯繼續獲得更多的國際讚譽，他不但參加了洛杉磯當代藝術美術館（The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles）在2011年舉辦的《街頭藝術》展覽，更於2015年再次獲邀參與第56屆威尼斯雙年展。
在這次展覽中，有不少作品描繪了私密的室內空間，不論其構圖或用色都會令人聯想到亨利・馬諦斯（Henri Matisse）或彼得・索爾（Peter Saul）的畫作。在詹姆斯的室內畫（interior painting）中，鮮豔的調色板成為最大的特色，觀者可欣賞到一系列以插圖的形式呈現的卡通人物和半裸女郎。更引人入勝的是，詹姆斯以一個旁觀者的角度描繪出這些作品，衍生出一種自然而然的風格，使作為「他者」的觀者更能投入到他的作品當中。
Title｜Dreamer Believer: Todd James Solo Exhibition
Dates｜June 13 - July 26, 2020
Venue｜Whitestone Gallery Taipei, 1F, No.1, Jihu Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City, 114, Taiwan
"Todd James is a guy who is always marched to the beat to his own drum. He is just always created this like super interesting paintings and drawings, you know. He brings you into his own world." - Pharrell Williams
Whitestone Gallery is pleased to present Dreamer Believer, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by American artist Todd James. On view at the gallery's Taipei location, this exhibition marks his debut solo presentation in Taiwan. This exhibition will showcase 26 works by Todd James, including 19 new paintings and drawings created during the pandemic and New York City's mandatory quarantine.
Todd James is known as one of the representative artists of the 80s and 90s street art scene in the United States. Having been involved in the New York graffiti scene since his mid-teens under the name REAS, James has had a significant influence on the youths of his generation. He was a symbol of the driving force behind the underground culture of the time, collaborating with Beastie Boys, Iggy Pop, and Eminem. It was in 2000 that his fame had spread to the formal art scene with his exhibition "Street Market". In this show, James joined with Barry McGee and Stephen Powers to recreate a New York alleyway covered in graffiti on a massive scale. The show was later shown at the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and then travelled as far as the Parco Museum in Tokyo, giving rise to a worldwide sensation. James had continued to receive increasing international acclaim in recent years, participating in exhibitions such as "Art in the Street" at LA MOCA in 2011, and "The Bridges of Graffiti" featured at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.
James' paintings are widely celebrated by his use of clean lines and forms along with colourfully animated characters. While his works appear to convey a sense of familiarity, they indeed permeate with a spirit of criticism towards the underside of contemporary society. A tank, a naked female figure, anthropomorphic fighter planes, are the motifs that repeatedly appear throughout James' work. Nevertheless, the artist bears no intention for his works to be interpreted as being explicitly political, instead of describing them as an assemblage of images created by adapting the information that streams out of television and newspapers daily.
Many of the new works in this exhibition depict interior spaces; they remind us of the paintings of Henri Matisse or Peter Saul both in terms of the composition and use of colour. From James' paintings of interiors that are characterized by a sharply vivid colour palette, one can observe arrays of cartoon characters and pinups conveyed in illustrative touches, also often featuring female nudes. A fascinating point is: his works have been depicted from the perspective of a bystander. Such style is not calculated and is instead an attitude that James had come to acquire throughout his practice naturally. As a result, it enables us, viewers, as "others" to sympathize with his works.