ReGenerations: Tony DeVarco & Mayako Nakamura

Tony DeVarco: Mayako's Palette 2013 Archival digital print on paper w 24” x h 24” (102 x 102 mm)

Tony DeVarco: Mayako's Palette 2013 Archival digital print on paper w 24” x h 24” (102 x 102 mm)

June 9th - August 5th, 2017

Tony DeVarco (Santa Cruz, CA) and Mayako Nakamura (Tokyo, Japan) met in late 2013. After exchanging a few pieces, the two decided to work on a complementary series that would engage each of their unique styles. The exhibition will feature a selection from the artist’s latest series of collaborative work. In addition, the exhibition will include mixed media works by Nakamura and photomontages by DeVarco. This presentation will give the viewer insight to the evolution of the artists’ journey together.

Tony DeVarco first visit to Mayako Nakamura’s studio was in 2013. He returned to Japan in October 2014 and went to Mayako’s solo show "Hereafter" at the Gallery Yasutake in her home town of Hachioji, Tokyo. It was during this trip Tony captured some pixels of Mayako in the gallery and at a kimono shop which he incorporated a few weeks later in a triptych titled “Wish-Fulfilling Jewel.” While sitting on a train together DeVarco brought up an idea of wanting to do a collaboration where he would take high-resolution images of her work and combine them with his digital imagery. Tony would then send the printed photographs to Japan for Mayako to add a layer of her painting and she would then return the new iteration to California. To his surprise, she agreed to participate and the collaboration began.

In 2016, La Stella Gallery presented the first exhibition of their collective works titled “Spirited Nature Traces of Light”. The installation was presented at The George J. Doizaki Gallery on the main floor of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) located in Little Tokyo, in downtown Los Angeles. La Stella Gallery and the exhibition may be found online and in virtual reality at:

Curator Bonnie DeVarco describes the influences found in the artists’ individual work – “Mayako and Tony both draw deeply from Abstract Expressionism and share the layering process of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and the richness of colors in the works of Paul Cezanne. They also share the simplicity, stillness and minimalism of Matisse, Brancusi, Noguchi and Lee Ufan.” It is here where Mayako and Tony root their distinctive styles and follow a path toward creating compelling iterations, with over 5,000 miles of ocean between the work of the two artists.

DeVarco & Nakamura: Source (Iteration II)  2017  Acrylic and charcoal over an archival digital print on paper, w 64" x h 32" (1626 x 813 mm)

DeVarco & Nakamura: Source (Iteration II) 2017 Acrylic and charcoal over an archival digital print on paper, w 64" x h 32" (1626 x 813 mm)

Mayako Nakamura (b.1976) is a native of Hachioji, Toyko. From 1985-1989 she lived in Northamptonshire, England. After returning to Tokyo she Graduated from Sophia University in 1999 and later lived in Sukhothai, Thailand. In 2009 Mayako graduated from Muashino Art University in Tokyo. Nakamura has received numerus honors and awards for her work. In addition, her works have been used as book covers and on CD jacket illustrations, she collaborates with clothing brands, creates clocks and ceramic paintings as well as paintings on canvas. This is her third show in the United States and first at Marta Hewett Gallery.

Nakamura’s methods “trace the shapes of space and boundaries in everyday” responding to how her body feels. Through her abstract compositions, Nakamura attempts to create another every day, by painting atmospheres; emotions and actions that can't be expressed by words. Art critic Yoshio Katoh describes Nakamura as an “artist who has inherited its (Surrealism) influence in her works and has applied automatic drawing to liberate herself from her more rational mind.”

Tony DeVarco (b. 1961) received his Masters in Arts Administration from the College Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati in 1986. Moving to New York City as a young artist, DeVarco became involved in such innovated programs as Studio in a School, founded by Agnes Gund and Creative Time started by Anita Contini. It was while coordinating programs for Creative Time, that DeVarco was introduced to American abstract expressionist sculptor Mark Di Suvero. He spent a year and a half as Di Suvero's assistant while living and working on his own art and contributing to the development of Socrates Sculpture Park. In addition to Di Suvero’s direct influence, Tony’s approach to sculpture and mixed media at the time was deeply inspired by the work of the Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi whom the artist met in 1987.

After leaving NYC in late 1988, Tony taught Arts Administration at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati for two years. While there he co-wrote and produced with Cincinnati playwright and Professor of Drama Michael Burnham a theater piece entitled Buckminster Fuller: In and Out of the Universe. The play, which also featured DeVarco’ set designs, was presented by the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Ohio. Tony DeVarco was appointed Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute in 1991 and led the organization until May of 1995 after moving its headquarters and Fuller Archives from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

In 2005 Tony DeVarco returned to his artistic practice with fresh vision and new tools. Through his later years in the digital environments of Silicon Valley while traveling regularly to Japan, Europe and other locations around the globe, his artist’s tools became more technological and ephemeral - a laptop and a digital camera. With these tools, he has explored a completely unique approach to digital mixed media called photomontages. After a 15-year hiatus from creating art for public display he presented his new work, “Stone Water Spirit” at Land of Medicine Buddha, Santa Cruz County in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Tony had a solo exhibition of works selected from the book "Way of Time" at the Marta Hewett Gallery.