Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong is proud to present “Cosmic View of Earth”, solo exhibition of Katsuyoshi Inokuma (b. 1951, Fukushima, Japan). The exhibition will showcase a series of Inokuma’s acrylic and pastel paintings, including a newly-created eight-meter painting of Inokuma’s signature ultramarine blue. Inokuma’s artistic approach is strongly correlated with the nature. His ultramarine blue inspires a variety of associations of the universe in viewers. As time passes it seems the color’s depth continues expanding, eventually stepping into deepest cores of viewers’ mind. In recent years, Inokuma is creating atmospheres of even greater quietness, as if the entire image is enveloped by the silence of outer space.
Inokuma likes colors that give the feeling of depth of earth. Among all colors, blue light has the greatest penetrating power and is scattered the most strongly in air, resulting blue sky and sea perceived in our eyes. For Inokuma, blue captivates people’s memories by permeating the world of water and air. Inokuma discarded figurative representation and began painting shades of colors structured by partitions and rectangles in 1990’s. The artist sees this kind of painting as “a release from my binding” as all obligations to illustrate figures are discarded. In his own words, “In that way it is not a vehicle to deliver what I have to say, but rather an expression resulting from touching the viewer’s emotional memory.”
Inokuma’s ultramarine blue reigns supreme across his acrylic paintings, but looking closely one will find small variations. In order to bring out the desired depth in the blue, Inokuma manipulates foundation layers of multiple colors and erases some of the paint after that. “Erasure” is an important and repetitive process in his paintings. Inokuma also mixes coffee grounds to create a random, uneven texture; when light is reflected on it, an even more complex color surface is produced. Inokuma grinds pastel up in a mortar to create his pastel works, he then paints by hands and erases by sandpaper, creating a rough texture in the material. The stage Inokuma creates is full of colors associated with air, water and land, endowing his canvas with an atmosphere of tranquillity and spirituality.
One of the artists who influenced Inokuma the most is Rembrandt van Rijn. Back then when Inokuma was studying in high school, he was emotionally struck by Rembrandt’s works which possessed a contemplative and solemn atmosphere. Inokuma’s paintings are in a sense a struggle to rekindle the feeling of being touched emotionally by art. Inokuma does not want to constrain the viewers. Instead he attempted to return painting to a position of pure emotion, inviting viewers to enter the painting naturally and generate their own conversation with it, this he deems is the true completion of his art. Inokuma started his journey as an artist relatively late in his 40s. He did not graduate from top fine art academies; faced difficulties in workplace and life; he also endured many trials in the beginning of his artistic career. However these experiences and frustrations have brought out a profound depth of character and maturity in the artist, giving his canvas a distinctive quality.
Katsuyoshi Inokuma was born in Fukushima, Japan and won the grand prize for the Shigeru Aoki Exhibition Award in 1996. After which his artistic career took off, he went on to receive the Fukushima Art Association’s Special Selection Award. He has been exhibited extensively in Asia, including an exhibition at the Karuizawa New Art Museum.
Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong, 6 July, 6-8 pm