Dug Uyesaka: pulp n’glue – remix vol.1, Architectural Foundation
By Tom Pazderka
Let me start right off the bat by saying that I’m a Dug Uyesaka fan. His work appeals to me and I truly enjoy looking at it. There is a certain freshness to the work, though it almost always looks like it’s been made sometime in the 1950s or ’60s at the height of Abstract Expressionism.
At the Architectural Foundation, Uyesaka presents 30 small works. Made over the past three years, they read a bit like a visual version of a punk or metal album. Those who listen to either genre will understand. Two- to four-minute songs—fast, riffy, catchy, and to the point. There is no reason for a ballad here.
Uyesaka’s works in this show are small and unpretentious with punk/metal genre-like titles such as “Into the Unknown,” “Chosen One,” “Move,” “Manifestation,” and “Cirrus.” Even the title of the show has a cut ‘n’ mix bravado aesthetic to it, a panache for sampling and resampling.
The work owes much to its predecessors and influences, like Rauschenberg or Schwitters, but it comes up with something entirely and subjectively different, it may seem primitive, but it is highly sophisticated.
Uyesaka has an eye for just the right placement of elements within a composition, a line here, a cutout there.
That the work is almost entirely made on or from book paper is not misleading, this move is a subconscious sigh in an age of digital culture. Books have become more of a curiosity or collectors’ item rather than repositories of knowledge or therapeutic currency (how many people read a book to relax these days?).
There is no nostalgia here though.
“Pulp n’glue” is more whimsy than maudlin. Personally, I like work that is about something, and looking around the show I see endless references to text, and all of it, besides one lone example is handwritten, pointing to a past in which books were hand-copied by monks and took months to produce, objects for intimate study, not general use.
But Uyesaka’s style points to a more recent past—pulp fiction novels—when books were cheap and taking notes in the margins had no affect on the resale value.
“pulp n’glue – remix vol.1” is on view July 17 to Sept. 13, 2018 at the Architectural Foundation, 229 East Victoria St., Santa Barbara, www.afsb.org. Regular gallery hours are Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment, contact Rocio Iribe at (805) 965-6307.