ArtXchange Gallery is proud to present 32 Aspects of Daily Life, a new series of mixed-media, paper cut-away portraits by Lauren Iida. In this exhibition, Iida pays homage to a series of the same name, created in the 1880s by Japanese woodblock artist, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). Utilizing watercolor and ink, alongside her distinct paper cut-away technique, Iida depicts female-identifying people that she has connected with during her daily life.
Much of Iida's work grows from her desire to document life around her and the varied cultural impacts that shape her world. As her work has developed, Iida has often alternated between exploring her Japanese American family history and documenting her current life living in Cambodia over the last 12 years. In this new series, Iida has struck an unusual balance by utilizing formats inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock artists, whose works were the popular story-telling vehicle of their time. Within this framework that pays homage to her ancestral history, Iida depicts people from her daily life in Cambodia, resulting in in a unique style that reflects the multifaceted culture she has created for herself.
The series Iida references, 32 Aspects of Daily Life (also known as "32 Aspects of Women" by Yoshitoshi, portrayed women from different backgrounds and occupations, each associated with a particular mood or character trait. The series, first published in 1888, became wildly popular in its time for depicting women from all areas of society, offering a more realistic representation of women in art than was commonly seen. As in Yoshitoshi's series, Iidas subjects include prostitutes, wives of the working class, the elite, and people challenging gender roles. Mythology, symbolism, and nuance in color and pattern are taken into account, sometimes as a playful reinterpretation of the meaning or aesthetic of Yoshitoshi, and other times drawing from Japanese or Cambodian culture. In each image, the nuances and subcultures of daily life in Cambodia can been seen - from weavers of fishing nets, food sellers and street vendors, to traditional dance performers and fortune tellers.