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Loring Taoka: ±

Contemporary Art Gallery
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a pattern of oval shapes in magenta, pastel green, and brown colors intersecting with one another
Image courtesy of the artist.

What do you see when you look at this pattern? Do you recognize certain shapes? Do the colors evoke a memory? For artist Loring Taoka, designs like this operate in ambiguous and limitless spaces. They balance between chaos and control, sugar-sweet pastels that blend and crescendo into disorienting layers. 

In ±, Taoka immerses a section of the Contemporary Art Gallery in such a pattern, inviting visitors to leave their expectations and comfort zones behind and fall into a space of illegibility. Walking down the hall, visitors can engage with the pattern through moments of optical disruption through the lenses of frosted glass, light boxes, gels, acrylics, and protrusions that pull the pattern off the wall and bring it into the memories, experiences, and personal references of the viewer. 


The work itself speaks to the experiences of minoritized groups who often have to live in between cultures, classes, and gender expressions depending on their environment. As the artist says, “I think a lot about how I move through space and how I carry myself. I think constantly about who I am and how my existence inhabits an ambiguous state. Being a queer, Japanese-American has required me to be constantly engaged with perception and negotiation.”

Practice the art of looking and seeing in ±, free to view in the Contemporary Art Gallery.