Naoko Ito: Urban Nature

Artist Lecture: July 10, 12:00 pm

I feel like two dimensions is not enough for me to explain about myself or what I’m talking about, what I’m thinking about.  –  Naoko Ito


April 30, 2011

It is my pleasure to invite you to CAM Raleigh’s premiere groundbreaking exhibitions featuring Dan Steinhilber in the main galleries and Naoko Ito in the Independent Weekly Gallery. CAM Raleigh is the culmination of the dreams of many who imagined, planned, persevered, and achieved. This core group of dedicated dreamers believed deeply in “firsts”—both in new concepts and in innovative artists and designers you may not know today but will know tomorrow. As you travel through this new building you will have numerous opportunities for exploration and engagement. The architecture invites a fantastic profusion: suddenly, everywhere you look, people are seeking out new experiences and opportunities to engage, interact, and contribute.Artists talks, community workshops, dialogue with our staff and docents—all are exceptional occasions to wade through the city’s cultural landscape as it is shaped by CAM Raleigh. I encourage you to take advantage of our programs, to discover new ideas, to add to the conversations, to be inspired and to always explore everything and participate in art and design moving forward. Elysia Borowy-Reeder
Executive Director, CAM Raleigh

CAM Raleigh is proud to present New York-based Japanese artist Naoko Ito in her first solo museum exhibition. This series, Urban Nature, examines the relationships between the natural world and the industrial world.

Ito advocates that our entire lives are in a constant state of decay and renewal, an idea elegantly illustrated through the pieces Ubiquitous, Flora andPlight. In these works, segmented tree branches are preserved in glass jars. Ito’s choice of material originally stems from a desire to replicate the luminosity and fragility of ice, a natural material that shares the quality of preservation with jars. Stacked precariously on the concrete, the works are evidence of an unfaltering hand.

A large gallery wall crawls with knotted wire, laboriously knitted by Ito over six months. Its seemingly fragile quality mimics moss or ivy. Living in New York City, she doesn’t have much exposure to wilderness. Trees are a common site in Raleigh, the City of Oaks. But around her home, Ito must purchase branches from the local flower market in order to create her artworks.

New York has a lot of parks but I feel like the park is fake nature. I started thinking about how, especially in the New York area, in urban areas, how people get along with nature. How they contain it. - Naoko Ito

The title of the video piece KV265 refers to Mozart’s twelve variations of the French folk song Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman, which Ito is playing on the piano in the video. Ito chose this song because of its nostalgic feeling, touching most people whether they can place the tune or not: the melody for Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Baa Baa Black Sheep; and the Alphabet Song. Ito considers this work to be a “treatment for winter depression;” filled with lovely scenes of green projected through jars, their final images distorted and dreamlike. Contrasted with the decaying Plight, the dialogue between the works speak of summer and winter, growth and decline, joy and sadness.

This is the first exhibition in the Emerging Artists Series in the Independent Weekly Gallery.

- Kate Shafer
Gallery and Exhibitions Manager, CAM Raleigh

Download Gallery Guide

Naoko Ito (born 1977, Tokyo, Japan), is an emerging artist living and working in New York City. Ito recently received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. She holds a BFA in Science of Design as well as Curator Certification from the Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan. Urban Nature is her first solo exhibition. Group exhibitions include CRG Gallery (New York, NY), 2010 SOHO20 Gallery Chelsea (New York, NY), Yasashii Yokan Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), Perry Rubenstein Gallery (New York, NY), Ise Cultural Foundation (New York, NY), Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts (New York, NY), X Initiative (New York, NY), ZieherSmith Gallery (New York, NY), Ozone Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), DIC Color Square (Tokyo, Japan), White Box/The Annex (New York, NY). Fellowships, Residencies and Grants include the Artists Residency Program at Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY), Studio Program at Chashama (Brooklyn, NY), Artist Studio Residency Program at SOHO20 Gallery Chelsea (New York, NY), School of Visual Arts Graduate Department Award and the Alumni Society of School of Visual Arts Scholarship Award.

CAM Raleigh is the only museum in the region with a dedicated gallery for emerging artists and designers. Through exhibiting emerging artists whose work is still in progress and fresh from the studio, CAM Raleigh celebrates the diversity of artistic expression and places the artist at the center of the community. The Museum supports early career contemporary artists in an atmosphere where they are encouraged to foster a cross-fertilization of ideas and dynamic interaction with visitors. Visitors from all walks of life will often have a chance to meet and exchange ideas with the artists celebrated in this series. CAM Raleigh’s Independent Weekly Gallery features the Emerging Artist Series.

Images © Naoko Ito 2011
Download Press Release pdf.

Press Coverage

Midtown Raleigh News – June 29
Create your own art at First Friday – June 16
Steinhilber Piece at Raleigh CAM give philosophy of plastic to take hold, tightly

Quarterlife Tango Blog, Tara L. Connolly – June 8
Contemporary Art Engages the Community at the Newly-Opened Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh

Metro Magazine – May
Long-Awaited Contemporary Art Museum Opens With A Flourish

Goodnight, Raleigh! – May 12
First Friday – May 2011

News & Observer - May 1
Contemporary Art Showcase Opens in Raleigh

NC Art Blog - April 30
CAM's Time Arrives

Herald Sun – April 29
CAM Raleigh opens with two amazing shows

News 14 Carolina – April 30
Art Breaths New Life into Old Warehouse in Downtown Raleigh

Independent Weekly – April 27
Years in the works, Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum opens.

Independent Weekly – April 27
The Long Road to CAM and what it means for Raleigh

News & Observer – April 24
New Contemporary Art Museum aims to stir Raleigh’s artistic pulse
Photo gallery here.