New York, NY - SEIZAN Gallery New York is pleased to present Sumi: Japanese Ink Painting from Post-War to the Present, a group exhibition of artists who have redefined traditional Sumi painting throughout their careers. Featuring Yasuko Hasumura, Yuichi Inoue, Toshiyuki Kajioka, and Toko Shinoda, Sumi opens Wednesday January 9th, 2019 at SEIZAN’s Chelsea gallery. Opening reception will be held 6-9pm on Thursday, January 10th.
Sumi, or black ink painting, is one of the most established and recognized artforms in Japan today. Traditionally created using only ink, brushes, and Japanese paper, the art of Sumi was revolutionized in the 1950’s when artists such as Yuichi Inoue and Toko Shinoda sought to free the medium by combining Sumi with abstraction, performance art, and radical new materials. SEIZAN is proud to bring together four artists who have each played a key role in redefining Sumi as a vehicle for experimentation. In addition to well-known Sumi masters Inoue and Shinoda, the exhibition will feature artists Yasuko Hasumura and Toshiyuki Kajioka, two rising stars in Japan who continue to push Sumi to new heights through their incorporation of experimental mediums and subject matter.
Yasuko Hasumura (b. 1958)
Yasuko Hasumura majored in oil painting at Tama Art University, producing and exhibiting mainly abstract paintings and contemporary bas-relief works. It was after this that she had a fateful encounter with Noh Theatre and began searching for materials that could help her express the unique essence of that universe, leading her eventually to ink. By affixing alternating layers of ultra-thin Japanese paper and ink to canvas, Hasumura creates artworks that seem to connote the air itself and has given birth to her own original genre, one that leaps beyond the boundaries of Nihonga and ink painting.
Yuichi Inoue (1916-1985)
Avant-garde painter Yuichi Inoue was a transformative artist of 20th Century Japan who pioneered action painting and abstraction in calligraphy during Japan’s post-war years. Revered for his expressive single-character paintings which explore the depth and emotions of one word such as 花 (Hana), also the name of the artist’s eldest daughter, Inoue painted with a variety of ink-laden tools with which he beat and splashed paper. This union of traditional calligraphy with experimental creation catapulted Inoue to an international stage, where he has become one of the most widely exhibited and recognized Japanese artists of the modern era.
Toshiyuki Kajioka (b. 1978)
Kajioka’s works are born from wet application of hemp on board, bold touches of ink, and fine pencil etchings that create a layered surface of black. He began exploring his current style in his late teens. One night, as he was crossing a bridge over a river, he looked down at the water and felt his eyes overcome by pure darkness. The experience left him profoundly aware of the uncertainty of his own existence and transformed him from a painter who was inspired by the atmosphere of Nihonga and the traditional motifs of “flower, bird, wind, and moon”, to an artist who continually depicts the warmth of light melting into darkness.
Toko Shinoda (b. 1913)
Born in 1913, Toko Shinoda is one of the world’s oldest practicing artists as well as one of the most accomplished. Having begun her study of calligraphy at the age of six, Shinoda’s work blends traditional Sumi ink painting with modern abstraction which she was exposed to while living in New York City in the 1950’s. Her paintings and lithographs are held in numerous esteemed public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Art in Tokyo, the British Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Special thanks to The Tolman Collection of New York for their collaboration on the inclusion of works by Toko Shinoda. The catalog for the exhibition with an accompanying essay by Ryan Holmberg, the Visiting Associate Professor at The University of Tokyo, will be available for purchase at the gallery.
About SEIZAN Gallery
After operating for twenty-two years in the heart of the Ginza district of Tokyo, SEIZAN Gallery owner and longtime art dealer Seiko Yamada opened her first overseas space in Chelsea on September 6th, 2018. Representing both emerging and established Japanese artists, SEIZAN Gallery aims to promote Japanese art at home and abroad.
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