From October 16 to November 29, Yumiko Glover‘s “Moe” Elements of the Floating World will take over Bryan Ohno’s Gallery (521 S Main Street). The exhibit is an exciting and colorful exploration of a Japanese subculture: animated films, manga and idols. Glover fuses realistic figure representation with playful but symbolically rich elements of this subculture. The works take on a sexualized tone—common in Japanese pop culture—but it is a little refreshing coming from the perspective of a female artist.
Yumiko Glover and Bryan Ohno Gallery will host an artist talk on October 18 from 11 to noon. This event is a great opportunity to further understand the complex works by Glover, and transform the subject from playful to cultural investigation.
Press Release from Bryan Ohno Gallery on “Moe” Elements of the Floating World:
The sexual culture of Japan is a major topic of art historical discourse globally. Erotica is still a prime subject of contemporary Japanese art, and the voice of a female artist such as Yumiko Glover is as rare as it is vital.
Glover’s work exposes the powerful social phenomenon, which is “Moe” in Japan. In the popular Otaku subculture of animated manga and idols, “Moe” is a Japanese slang term that describes something precious, such as idealized visions of youth and innocent femininity. This concept is demonstrated in girls wearing school uniforms and dressing as maids in public places. Animals such as frogs and rabbits represent the male, as an indirect satire on societal and human behavior.
Glover’s inspiration stems from real-life experiences she witnesses. “Through my work, I’m trying to examine the cultural, economic, historical and psychological reasons behind the phenomenon and the impact that they have in our daily lives.” To her, “Moe” represents a much more complicated background of society.
Much like in her Moe Elements of the Floating World II, Glover portrays girls who appear to be self-absorbed, taking pictures of themselves or looking in a mirror. While they’re not interacting with men, the girls are fully aware of their attention. Her use of imagery and composition tension manifests itself in her work, demonstrating “Moe’s” symbolic power and cultural narrative to the viewer. In her work, girls and men neither have physical contact, nor communicate directly, and their gazes never meet.
Glover raises a controversial argument that brings awareness to the young women who embody “Moe’s” submissive persona. She believes that this highlights the consciousness of patriarchy that is still deeply engrained in Japanese culture.
About the Artist
Originally from Hiroshima, Japan, Yumiko Glover now resides in Hawaii. Glover received her BFA (’11) in painting from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Glover’s work will be included in the upcoming Honolulu Museum of Art, Modern Love: 20th- Century Japanese Erotic Art (November 20, 2014 ~ March 15, 2015). Glover has frequently presented her ongoing research about contemporary social issues in Japan for the Sociology of Japan and Women’s Studies course at University of Hawai’i Honolulu Community College.