Shu Ohno’s ‘The Doodles’ at P339 gallery

Park Sloper makes sci-fi sculptures from old toys

The Brooklyn Paper
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Lifesize: Artist Shu Ohno sculpture “Doodle #1403” at P339 gallery in Williamsburg.
Post-apocalyptic rock: Ohno often incorporates guitars into his sculptures.
Set phasers to fun: Ohno’s intricate sculptures are made up of countless tiny components.
Plugged in: Ohno’s “doodles” have a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi feel.
Sketchy: Ohno’s more literal “doodles” are as intricate as his sculptures.

It is a whitewash!

A new exhibition opening at P339 gallery in Williamsburg on Jan. 9 features sculptures made from parts of toys and other small discarded objects all coated with a thick layer of white paint. The artist responsible said he wants the pieces to evoke the mindless sketches people draw in the margins of their notebooks, which is why he dubbed it “The Doodles.”

“Doodles are what you draw without thinking. And they don’t usually have any color,” said artist Shu Ohno, who hails from Japan. “In the same way, I wanted to show these forms without color.”

The centerpiece of the show is a life-sized figure of what appears to be a young soldier covered by hundreds of tiny components, including a pair of headphones, some goggles, and all manner of electrical bits. The monochromatic paint job gives the thing an otherworldly, post-apocalyptic feel.

“It’s very fantastical, bizarre, and kind of grotesque,” said Samer Ghadry, the gallery’s director. “You’ve got to see them up close.”

A guitar strung over the figure’s back injects a rock ’n’ roll sensibility to the piece, and also recalls Ohno’s roots as a frontman for a band back in his home country of Japan.

“I’m only a musician in Japan,” said Ohno, who moved to Park Slope from the Land of the Rising Sun two years ago. “In Brooklyn, I’m trying to focus on my sculptures.”

Some of Ohno’s better-known work focuses on the deconstruction of guitars, working them over with power tools until they appear to be corroding away. But his new pieces offer a stark contrast, with tiny pieces piled up to form new, intricate objects.

The relatively small size of P339 will make viewing “The Doodles” an intimate experience, which Ohno said is exactly how he wants it to be seen.

“A small space is good for me,” he said. “These pieces are very complex.”

“The Doodles” at P339 [339 Bedford Ave. between South Third and South Fourth streets in Wlliamsburg, (301) 529–1400,]. Reception Jan. 9, 6 pm–9 pm. Free. Show runs Jan. 7–24.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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