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I am Here@Green St & Spring St, New York, NY, November 9, 2021, 3:33pm, 78” x 98”

Harumi Ori

I am Here
September 23rd – October 30th, 2022


Opening Reception:
Friday, September 23rd, 6-8pm

A moment just passed you by. There goes another one, and another. These things may feel ephemeral by virtue of being so small, but moments—those building blocks of time—make up the hours, days, weeks, and years of our lives. There’s nothing more valuable.

For the artist Harumi Ori, each second is sacred. In her work, she freezes everyday moments and makes monuments to them, transforming banality into timelessness. By choosing to focus on one ordinary spot in the world, from the same vantage point day after day, Ori elevates its sense of place with special significance. Then, using the photos she’s taken, Ori sculpturally recreates that spot using industrial mesh, a humble, everyday material that also reminds us of the temporary nature of construction sites.

Temporality has long been a concern for art. Some works, such as the endurance pieces by Vito Acconci or Tehching Hsieh, force us to consider the passage of time. Other works, such as that of On Kawara or Christian Marclay’s The Clock, boldly freeze days, minutes, and seconds, reminding us of both fleetingness and the importance of each little unit of time. This is the lineage Harumi Ori’s work is in.

Ori’s work also often extends beyond the studio or the gallery and exists in the public sphere. Seeing her life-sized orange figures in the wild can be a thrill that offers us a sense of the uncanny and the familiar at once, like a mirror reflecting our humanity back at us. At first glance there might be something whimsical in seeing these sculptures out in the world. But upon closer scrutiny we sense a deeper meaning embedded in them.

This is because there’s also a kind of harmony at play in Ori’s work. By showing us these crowds of everyday people going about their business together and apart, we can be reminded of the dance that occurs between all of us while we’re simply living our lives. All walks of life are represented in Ori’s work, from all strata of society. By rendering everyone in the color orange—a shade which the artist says is holy to her—Ori equalizes her subjects and presents us with a visual representation of the ease with which we might coexist.

About

Harumi Ori spent her childhood in Japan, Malaysia, and the United States. After studying and working in the field of graphic design, Ori moved to New York in 1999 to study at the School of Visual Arts and received her second B.F.A with honors. 

Her sculptures, based on photographs she’s taken at various public sites, deal with themes of time, existence, and diversity. She is also an illustrator, using a self-devised collage method of dyeing paper, then cutting and pasting it.

Ori has had several solo shows at the Karuizawa New Art Museum; Whitestone Gallery, Japan; Artup, New York; Ise Cultural Foundation, New York; and the Queens Museum of Art. She has completed numerous artist residencies at places such
as the ArtBridge at Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn and at terrain-NYC in New York City, and her work is included in the permanent collection of Facebook. Her art has been highlighted by the New York Times, Casa Brutus, Aera magazine, and on NY1 and ABC News. She was invited to take part in the OpenArt Sweden Public Art Biennial in Orebro, Sweden in the summer of 2022. She was also a 2018 finalist for the Art in the Parks, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation—UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant and a 2017 finalist for commissions from the New York City Department of Transportation. In 2023, a mural by Ori will become part of the permanent collection of Western Michigan University, where it will be housed at the Student Center & Dining Facility.

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