Notes from the Artist: “My work features parallel architectural universes assembled from the detritus of discarded utopias and unrealized paleo-futuristic structures. Taking compositional and aesthetic cues from Japanese painting (in particular graphic flatness and frontal qualities) and Western architectural drawings (pre computer-era), I adapt obsolete manual drafting techniques to explore these worlds. Mechanical pen on mylar, brush, straight edge and knife blade (and a bit of software-enabled 3D modeling) are used to create hundreds of fragments, which are then hand-placed and assembled into compositions that float in the gravity-neutral space between reality and the imagination.

Inspired by this image of a green Manhattan, and building on a series I have been working on that feature urban “vertical gardens,” I created a new piece for The James called Vertical Garden (Marshes) — featuring one-hundred cut-out drawings of the indigenous plants that once grew on this spot, now growing from the roofs of a rotated contemporary high-rise. Accompanying that piece are studies of architectural fragments, a drawing in tribute to the visionary architect Buckminster Fuller’s airborne habitats and a piece called From the Abandoned Cities (Cave), which imagines the discovery of a strange half organic, half manmade underground world.”

[MORE]Naomi Reis was born in Shiga, Japan and grew up in Ohio, Kyoto, and upstate NY. She received an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, and a BA in Transcultural Identity from Hamilton College in 1997. She has exhibited nationally at the AIA Center for Architecture + Design Gallery in San Francisco, BAM Next Wave Art in Brooklyn, the Miami Biennale, Exit Art, Vox Populi, The Ice Box, Little Berlin Gallery, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, as well as internationally at the Artcomplex Center in Tokyo and the Print Center in Reykjavik. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings (2005 & 2010), Anthem Magazine, Dwell Magazine, and dpi Magazine. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and returns to Japan regularly.


What Once Was (High Salt Marshes Study #3), 2010
Ink and mixed media collage on mylar

After Buckminster Fuller (Spheres), 2009
Ink and mixed media on paper

What Once Was (High Salt Marshes Study #1), 2010
Ink and mixed media collage on mylar

What Once Was (High Salt Marshes Study #2), 2010
Ink and mixed media collage on mylar

Vertical Garden (Marshes), 2010
Hand-cut ink and acrylic drawings on mylar

From the Abandoned Cities (Cave), 2005
Acrylic and mixed media on mylar