washington-dc

Tom Nakashima

Washington Project for the Arts (WPA)

This exhibition of drawings, prints, and constructions by Tom Nakashima, guest curated by Lynn Schmidt, amounted to a retrospective of the artist’s mature work that began around 1983 or ’84, the time of his “Ground Zero” series. As this title suggests, Nakashima is concerned with social and political themes, including that of nuclear war; themes that have personal resonance for him. Growing up in World War II America, with a Japanese-American father and a European-Canadian mother who was a strict Roman Catholic, Nakashima struggled to sort out his cultural heritage and identity. These conflicts appear in his work as Eastern and Western symbols and art-historical references.

In the large oil painting Beauty and Karmic Fish Await the Western Sunrise, 1984, part of the “Ground Zero” series, a white panel with an abstract design after Jasper Johns (concentric circles within a diamond) is

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