Takeshi Kawashima Serigraph
Takeshi Kawashima Serigraph
*Serigraph by Japanese born, New York based, Takeshi Kawashima
Variation on abstract forms in orange and blue.
Artist signed, titled and numbered in pencil bottom right and left:
23/40 “Red on Blue and Purple," no date, circa 1965.
Overall: 24.75”w 31.5”ht; Printed image: 19.75”w 26”ht;
Mat window: 20.25"w 27"ht; Each blue square: 6"sq
Vibrant, colorful matrix of abstracted imagery extrapolates the thoughtful color studies of Joseph Albers into hyper optic color and serial imagery.
Characteristic of Kawashima's work, there is a limited palette of highly contrasting hues together with subtly varied versions of the same color organized into an architectural grid. Against the subtle color/grid scheme, he formulates a disciplined but sexually charged series of variations on anatomical, sexually suggestive, biomorphic forms
This consistent strategy has yielded a body of work consisting of a multitude of architectural grids charged with sexual energy and optical vibrance.
Kawashima's subversive formalism resonates with more contemporary works which abstract pop imagery, render biomorphic forms in hard edged syntax and deploy bold color across computer generated landscapes.
Like Noguchi, Kawashima established a singular language in his synthesis of Japanese formalism with Western abstract art.
As Mark Johnson and Sahron Spain describe in the catalogue for the exhibition Asian/American/Modern Art Shifting Currents, 1900-1970-a show which traveled from the DeYoung in San Francisco to The Noguchi Museum in Long Island in 2009:
"These forms can be related to traditional Japanese family crests, known as "mon," which are symbols-commonly of flowers, trees, plants, and birds-contained within circular designs. Like "mon," the symbols here are often bilaterally symmetrical. However, instead of easily recognizable imagery, they are a sort of Rorschach test of abstracted samples derived from nature and anatomy."
Takeshi Kawashima Biography:
Born in 1930 in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. Enrolled at Musashino Art School, Tokyo, 1953-58.
Taught at Yoyogi Art School, Tokyo, 1955-1958. Exhibited with Yomiuri Independents, Tokyo, 1961-63; Lives in New York.
Arrived in New York in 1963 where he attended the Arts Students League.
Kawashima, better known in Japan than in the United States, still made a lasting impact on US art scene with large red and black triptych mural measuring one hundred inches wide and 80 inches tall and featured in the important 1965 exhibition New Japanese Painting and Sculpture which toured the US for two years.
The center panel was later purchased by the New York Museum of Modern Art, the other panels purchased by prominent collectors Mr and Mrs. Samuel J. Zack of Toronto, and Mr. and Mrs Frederick R. Weisman of Beverly Hills.
Artspace Company Website Kawashima Bio/Description:
"Takeshi Kawashima is an established Japanese born artist who now resides in New York City. His installations can be seen in public and private spaces and corporate collections in Japan and the United States. His colorful upbeat art celebrates life with bold, organic painted forms, reliefs and sculptures."
1956: Studied at Musashino University of Art, Tokyo, Japan
1956-66: Studied at The Art Students League, New York, New York
Scholarships & Awards
1967 Silvermine Prize, 18th Ann New Exhibition, New Cannaan, Connecticut
1966 Granted a Board of Control Scholarship
1965 Granted a Scholarship by The Daniel Schnakenberg"
Literature & Press
2006 Art Review in the New York Times; New Japanese Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, 1966, pp.76-7, color plate pp.20.
Asian/American/Modern Art Shifting Currents 1900-1970, ed. Cornell; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/University of California Press, pp.142, color plate pp.143; 2007 Review of Exhibitions in Art in America Magazine;
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2008: Gallery Shimada, Kobe, Japan; The Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan; Art Now Fair NY/ Artspace Company Y, NY
2007: Art Now Fair Miami; Artspace Company Y, Florida; Yamaso Art Gallery, Kyoto, Japan; Red Dot Show/ Artspace Company Y, New York, New York; Miura Art Village - Miura Museum of Art, Matsuyama, Japan
2006: Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, New York
2005: Gallery Shimada, Kobe, Japan (1996,1998, 2001)
2003: Yamaso Art Gallery, Kyoto, Japan(1990, 1993, 1996, 2001)
2002: The 2nd Retrospective Exhibition, Kagawa Prefectural Culture Musium, Takamatsu, Japan
1999: Yamaso Art Gallery, Kyoto, Japan - Paintings, Clay and Metal Works
1998: Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, New York - Paintings
1995: Haenah-Kent Gallery, New York, New York - Stone Reliefs, Paintings
1992: Magna Gallery, New York, New York - Paintings, Watercolors, Prints: JAL Gallery, New York, New York - Mono Prints, Watercolors
1989: Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan - Paintings
1988: Gallery International 57, New York, New York - Paintings, Sculptures, Prints
1984: Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan - Paintings, Stone Reliefs, Prints
1978: Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan - Stone Sculptures
1975: Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan - Paintings
1973: Lantern Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan - Three Dimensional Aluminum Sculptures
1972: Waddell Gallery, New York, New York - Stone Sculptures
1971: Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan - Paintings, Prints: Rasjad Hopkins Gallery, Los Angeles, California - Paintings, Reliefs, Prints
1969: Waddell Gallery, New York, New York - Three Dimensional Plastic Sculptures
1968: London Arts Gallery, Detroit, Michigan - Paintings, Prints
1967: Waddell Gallery, New York, New York - Paintings: Flair Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio - Paintings
1958-1961: Muramatsu Gallery Tokyo.
Selected Group Shows:
2011: Norton Simon Museum: Surface Truth: Abstract painting in the Sixties including Larry Bell, Thomas Downing, Helen Frankentaler, Takeshi Kawashima, Kenneth Noland and Jack Youngerman.
2010: The Art Students League's Phyliss Harriman Mason Gallery, Will Barnet and the Art Student's League.
Selected Public Collections:
2000: Okazaki Mindscape Museum, Okazaki, Stone Sculpture: Unity Vs Tension , 1978
1999: Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima: Painting: N.Y. 73 - J. T. 5, 1973
1989: Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art , Toyama: Painting: Night Train - I Love You, You Love Me, 1988; Ohara Museum of Art , Kurashiki, Painting, Dream Land - Space Odyssey, 1989
1988: Tokushima Prefectural Museum of Modern Art , Tokushima, Painting : Dance, 1983
1987: Ohara Museum of Art , Kurashiki: Painting : N.Y. 73 J. T. 7, 1968 - 73; Takamatsu City Museum of Art , Takamatsu
Painting: N.Y. 1977 - J.T. 29
1986: Tokushima Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Tokushima, Painting: N. Y. - D. T. 10 - 1966
1985: Takamatsu City Museum of Art , Takamatsu, Painting: N.Y. - D.T. 1965; Frederick R.Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles: 3 Stone Sculptures, Love - 5 (Venus), Eden, Love - I
1984: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art , Tokyo, Painting: J. T. M. H. - No. 55, Skyscraper New York; Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Painting: J.T.M.H. - No.54, Skyscraper New York
1976: The Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Oil on Canvas: Untitled; Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art , Kyoto, Painting: N.Y.- J.T.17
1971: Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Takamatsu, Painting : N. Y. 1968 - Red and Blue; Kagawa Prefectural Cultural Museum, Takamatsu, Paintings : N.Y. 1966 - 2004 - Yellow on White &; N.Y. - D.T. 67, 1996 - Black and White
1970: The State University College of Arts and Science, Potsdam, New York, Paintings, sculptures, reliefs and prints, donated by artist
1969: Roland Gibson Collection - The State University, Potsdam, New York, Painting, fiberglass relief and print
1968: Kutztown State College, Pennsylvania: Tokyo National Museum of Art , Tokyo, Paintings: N.Y. 1967 - 583 - Red and Blue, N.Y. 1967 - Blue and Red donated by Artist
1967: Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia: Housatonic Community College Museum of Art, Connecticut, Painting: N.Y. 56 - Red and Black & Untitled, Donated by Artist
1965: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, Painting: N.Y. 1964 - Red and Black; Museum of Modern Art, Kyobashi; National Museum, Tokyo.
1964 : The Larry Aldrich Museum, Connecticut; Painting, New Symbolism - Red and Black; Chrysler Art Museum, Massachusetts, Painting: N.Y. 1965 - Red and Black
1963: Mural commission for Agricultural Hall, Takamatsu.
"Embracing the World: the art of Takeshi Kawashima," by Eleanor Heartney:
"When a young Japanese artist named Takeshi Kawashima moved to New York in 1963, he was already known back home for his bold abstract paintings of emblematic shapes encased within regular grids. These two color works, which generally involve sets of suggestive organic forms painted on flat grounds, vary in intricacy and internal definition. Sometimes they are also completely flat. In other cases, shapes can be discerned within them. Some even contain careful lines that bring to mind mechanical drawings and architectural diagrams.
In one of the paradoxes of transcultural influence, Japanese writers have tended to stress the American nature of this work, while western writers point to its Japaneseness. Some have seen the emblems as versions of Japanese mon, or trade guild symbols, or they have read them as highly stylized pictograms. Others have pointed to their eroticism and abstracted sexual forms, comparing them to the mechanistic reductions of the human form found in Western works like Marcel Duchamp's "Large Glass".
Such works, which include the examples of Kawashima's "Red and Black Series" on view here, quickly earned him recognition in New York. He was included in the landmark 1965 - 1966 "New Japanese Painting and Sculpture" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which also purchased one of his paintings for its permanent collection. Inclusion in other museum shows followed, including MoMA's "1960's Selection from Museum Collection" exhibition the next year, as did a series of solo exhibitions at New York's influential Waddell Gallery. These shows were accompanied by favorable notices from writers like John Canaday, the formidable New York Times art critic.
Kawashima continued to explore the themes posed by the "Red and Black" series through the 1960s and 1970s. By the 1980s, however, he began to adopt a more expansive approach. His forms broke out of the squares which had so tightly confined them as he began to experiment with shaped canvases, metal and wood relief elements and a geometry which he notes was much indebted to the experience of living amid the skyscrapers of New York. These works, which he refers to as his "Blue and White Series" are extremely dynamic -- they incorporate elements like wooden slats cut out and laid over each other like fences, painted biomorphic shapes and wooden reliefs in the shape of arcs, stripes or trapezoids. The restriction of colors brings out the interrelationships of the forms, while the relief elements ensure that shadows become a formal element in their compositions.
By 1990, Kawashima was ready to break out further, this time by experimenting with color in ever more complicated and layered paintings and wall reliefs featuring lines, circles and rectangles in exuberant shades of green, blue, purple, red, yellow and black. They often feature expanses of white ground over which the colored lines and shapes seem to dance. Some of these take the form of free standing walls or architectural murals. Kawashima has dubbed these works his "Dreamland Series", referring to his sense that art can provide an imaginative realm of pleasure and happiness which is often denied by the external world.
Dreamland came to an end with the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and since then Kawashima has been engaged in a series of paintings which he calls his "Kaleidoscope Series". These works make reference to the belief, deeply rooted in Taoist philosophy, that the only stable principle is that of change. They are realized in related groups, each of which provides a set of variations on a particular composition. Alterations in palette and subtle shifts in the arrangement of lines and forms challenge the viewer to discern what has been changed and what has remained the same. They are less dimensional than the Dreamland works, but share those works' graphic clarity. Despite the darkness of the events which inspired them, the Kaleidoscope paintings are infused with Kawashima's irrepressible optimism, and they remain full of the joy which animates his earlier work.
While some may labor to discern traditional Japanese motifs and forms in Kawashima's oeuvre, the artist himself stresses the enormous influence of his adopted country even before his arrival in New York, he was aware from art magazines of developments overseas. He emigrated in time to absorb such exciting new trends as Color Field Painting, Hard Edge, Pop and Op Art. Over the years, his kinship with such movements has remained clear, even as his work has expanded outward in complexity and depth. In certain ways, his progress from the restrained "Red and Black" works to the bursting, bustling "Kaleidoscope" series parallels American painter Frank Stella's move away from the geometric austerity of his early minimalist work toward the raucous glitter-scattered reliefs of recent years.
But while Kawashima's work reflects and communicates with the art of his own time, one can also detect in it echoes of Modernism's earlier history. His paintings, reliefs and sculptures bring to mind such precursors as the sleek organic abstractions of Jean Arp, the dynamic equilibrium sought by Wassily Kandinsky, the playful constructivist reliefs of Charles Biederman and the complex layerings of geometric and careening shapes found in the "nonobjective" paintings of artists like Rolph Scarlett and Rudolf Bauer who were championed by the Guggenheim Museum's first curator, Hilla Rebay.
But it is not necessary to have a degree in art history to appreciate Kawashima's art. It is full of ebullient references to the surrounding world using forms and shapes that anyone can appreciate. And even more important, it reflects the sense of gaiety, hope and love of pleasure of the artist who has given it birth."
New York based art critic and co-president of AICA/USA, the American Section of the International Art Critics Association