Author(s): Andrew Archer
A captivating work of cultural blending unlike anything created prior, Andrew Archer's Edo Ball must be seen to be believed. This series of paintings seamlessly fuses contemporary basketball imagery with Edo-period Japanese art and culture, with captivating results. Each image riffs on a classic Japanese painting or subject, adding a surprisingly weighty visual twist as Archer's deft world-building weaves these disparate visual iconographies into a cohesive whole. Often front and center, an NBA personality is dramatically reimagined and yet recognizable, surrounded by the myriad trappings of the "floating" world. See Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa reimagined as a court bursting apart at the floorboards and carried forward by a surge of hundreds of basketballs. A Torii gateway becomes the backstop for a basketball hoop, with a backdrop of mountains and a vast, snowy sky. Brief, accompanying texts describe the thematic connections between each painting's converging themes, and explore the roles that culture, community, celebrity, and games play in our daily lives.