Aliens Across the Pacific: Aryo Toh Djodjo Goes “Over My Head” @ Perrotin, Tokyo
There is something about the use of airbrush that makes time feel inconsequential, or impossible to quantify. What can be seen as a haziness in the aesthetic serves this concept well. Because the result of the airbrush hitting the canvas creates the slightest bit of fuzz, the viewer is transported into a dreamlike scenario. Los Angeles-based painter Aryo Toh Djodjo has been working within this realm for a few years now, both as an artist and a person who finds meditation to be a place of inspiration and focus. “I don't know how to explain it or if this will make sense, but I think we will never be present in that ‘in-between moment’ of reality where we can physically see time shifting,” Djodjo told me years ago. “Time is constant and fluid. We can’t really pinpoint the beginning or end of time unless we’re conscious and fully aware of the present.” I have often wondered aloud if this is why Djojo often paints little UFOs in each work, whether little dots in a sunset scene or even literal alien spacecraft hovering above a subject’s head.
Hence, in his new solo show Over My Head, on view at Perrotin in Tokyo, the viewer can think of the physical objects flying above our heads or even the concepts of reality and time that are philosophically beyond our ability to reason. This is what makes Djojo’s work so exciting and on the cusp of metaphysical image-making. What started as almost humorous paintings with nods to alien life have now become studies as to how we grapple with our own physical time on earth, and what it is we can accept as real that exists beyond our imagination. There is beauty just over our heads. —Evan Pricco