Todd James toes the thin line between erotic and ironic, capturing his Junoesque and voluptuous women during their private, secret moments taking place behind closed doors.
Freely, together with their cats, they read, drink tea, practice yoga, smoke cigarettes, and relax: fragments of quotidian life that unfold daily behind the scenes. Bold colors, bright hues, and fluid body shapes communicate and meld with details of interior spaces, creating a fresh perspectival and spatial perception. This moment of relaxation is also depicted in Todd James’ other characteristic and iconic subject: Somali Pirates. For the artist, they are portraits of men taking a break from their work. His gaze, void of judgment, falls upon these moments of rest before the men take up their secondhand weapons again to attack towering cargo ships from their tiny boats.
These figures address David and Goliath themes of survival, ownership, and ingenuity. Sharp and rough glimpses, instants of everyday life, private microcosms into which we are secretly invited to enter.
Todd James a.k.a. REAS (New York, 1969) is an internationally recognized artist who began his career as a child painting in the New York City subway system. He is a co-creator of the seminal Street Market exhibition at Deitch Projects in New York, which was selected for the Venice Biennale in 2001. James' work has also been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Tate Museum in Liverpool, the Parco Gallery in Tokyo, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Collette in Paris, Lopez Galleria in Madrid, Lazarides Gallery in London.
His most recent solo exhibitions: Todd James – We Are One, Gallery Javier Lopez & Fer Frances, Madrid, 2016; Fly Like The Wind, NANZUKA, Tokyo, Japan, 2015; Fantasy Island, Lazarides Rathbone, London, UK, 2015; PUMP PUMP, Alice Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, 2015; Afternoon Delight, AISHONANZUKA, Hong Kong, 2014; Strange Days, Galería Javier López - Finca Cortesin, Casares (Málaga), 2014; Paint New York – Painting from the American East coast, Copenhagen Gallery of Contemporary Art GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2014; Secret Garden, Galleria Patricia Armocida, Milan, Italy, 2014; Supernatural, Sandra Gering Inc, New York, 2014; Splash Damage, Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto, 2013; Business as Usual, Galerie Javier Lopez, Madrid, 2013; World Domination, Lazarides Gallery, London, 2013; Free To Be You & Me, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012; Yield to Temptation, Nazuka Underground, Tokyo, 2012; King of the Wild Frontier, Gering & López Gallery, New York, 2012; Nanzuka Underground, Tokyo, Japan, 2011; Face Makers, The Hole at Royal/T, Culver City, CA, 2011, What's He Building In There?, FUSE, New York, 2011; Infinity Lessons, Alice Gallery, Brussels, 2010; Great Adventure, Galería Javier López, Madrid, 2010; Make My Burden Lighter, Gering & López Gallery, New York, 2010; Disaster, Monster Children, Camperdown, 2009; Double Disaster, Don't Come Gallery, Melbourne, 2009; Don't Stop Get it Get it, Colette, Paris, 2009; Blood & Treasure, Lazarides Gallery, London, 2008; Trouble, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, 2007; Beloved Fiend, Todd James, Tate Liverpool Biennal, Liverpool, 2002.
He also took part of several collectives: Stay Gold – Todd James, Geoff McFetridge, Barry McGee and Thomas Campbell, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017; The Hole at Art Los Angeles Contemporary, The Hole, New York, NY, 2017; #The21Project, Dio Horia, Kifisia, Athens, Greece, 2016; Character, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2016; Still Here, a Decade of Lazarides, Lazarides Rathbone, London, United Kingdom, 2016; Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre, Istanbul, Turkey, 2016; Bridges of Graffiti, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2015; FUD, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015; KNOCK! KNOCK! Inauguracion, Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain, 2014; Pulp, The Outsiders, NewCastle, London, UK, 2014; Just Before Brazil, Alice Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, 2014; ASPHALTE, Urban Art Biennale, Charleroi, Belgium, 2014; Ok, I’ll Rename it, Bill Brady, Kansas City, USA, 2014; Art Truancy: Celebrating 20 Years of Juxtapoz Magazine, Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, USA, 2014; It’s An Invasion, Gramercy Park, New York, USA, 2014; Meet Your Maker, Bleecker Street Arts Club, New York, NY, 2013; Chicken or Beef? The Hole, New York, NY, 2013; Beyond Elegance, with Alexis Ross, Pop Up, New York, USA, 2012; V1X: Tonight We Won’t Be Bored, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012; Supergrass, Bloom Projects, New York, NY, 2012; What’s He Building in There?, FUSE, New York, USA, 2011; Art in the Streets, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, CA, 2011; Dadarhea, Canada Gallery, New York, NY, 2011; Pretty on the Inside, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, USA, 2011; Facemaker, Royal/T, Los Angeles, USA, 2011; Brothers of the Weird, Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, 2011; Con Amor, AROS Museum, Denmark, 2011; Contemporaries, Galleria Patricia Armocida, Milan, Italy, 2011; USA Today, Centro Torrente Ballester, Ferrol, Spain, 2010; Brush Strokes, V1 Galery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2010; Album Exhibition, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2010; The Paper Chasers, O.H.W.O.W., Miami, Florida, 2009; The New Yorkers, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2009; The Outsiders, The Lazarides Gallety, New York, NY, 2008; Destruction of Atlantis, Union Gallery, London, UK, 2008; Paper Trails, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2007; Highmath, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2006; Arkitip – Todd James and Kaws, Venice Beach, California, USA, 2006.