SOUTH PASADENA — South Pasadena Arts Council will present “Mike Saijo: Inaka” from Jan. 9 to Feb. 26 at SPARC Gallery, 1121 Mission St. in South Pasadena.
This solo exhibition is dedicated to bonsai trees and the history of Japanese American gardeners who lived and worked in Southern California before and after World War II.
Opening reception will be held on Saturday, Jan. 9, from 6 to 8 p.m.
A conversation with Saijo and author/historian Naomi Hirahara, moderated by historian William Deverall, will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. at the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room, 1100 Oxley St. in South Pasadena.
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Born in 1974 and raised in Los Angeles, Saijo attended Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Influenced by media culture (books, television, movies, magazines), he takes the approach of “open text,” which takes an object, such as a book, transforms the material from sequential to spatial order, and opens up a space to create new meaning.
His unconventional process often involves Xerox copy technology, office supplies, and building materials to construct art with a wide range of subject matter from mid-century modern architecture, World War II photos, cinema stills, imaginary landscapes, and the history of fashion.
Saijo rejects the notion of art as a fixed idea defined by history, and instead he reclaims history, and redefines it based on “human experience.” His work takes the form of installation, drawing, sculpture, and mixed media.
He has exhibited at MOCA, and in the permanent collection at the Orange County Museum of Agriculture and Nikkei History at Cal State Fullerton, as well as University of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand.
On the Web: http://msaijo.com/