Paintings from 1960s
In conjunction with Japan Society’s Radicalism in the Wilderness: Japanese Artists in the Global 1960s, Ulterior Gallery is pleased to present two solo presentations of works by two artists who are leading figures in the Japanese art world of that era. The back gallery will feature two 1964 paintings by Minoru Yoshida. The exhibition will open on March 8 and will be on view until April 6; an opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 9 from 6 to 8 pm.
Minoru Yoshida (1935–2010) emerged as a brilliant young painter in Kyoto after graduating from Kyoto City University of Fine Arts in the early 1960s. In 1964, introduced by Kazuo Shiraga, he joined the legendary post-war Japanese artists collective Gutai Art Association. A third-generation member of Gutai and the only member from Kyoto, Yoshida was instrumental in Gutai’s development in the ‘60s. During these years, Yoshida began creating abstract paintings which contained forms resembling flowers, microorganisms, and sometimes female genitalia, mostly in a variety of flat blue tones. These abstract works featuring minimal hard-edged shapes and forms were reviewed with great acclaim in Japan.
For Minoru Yoshida’s solo exhibition at Sato Gallery in Tokyo in the spring of 1965, Jiro Yoshihara, the leader of Gutai, wrote the following statement:
Minoru Yoshida’s paintings are completely his paintings, and they cannot be anything else other than Minoru Yoshida, which is great, and there is nothing to be said. They are oddly strong and I oftentimes feel that I can be easily knocked over by them. However, they also make me feel that I may fall in love completely by some chance. This is the most difficult thing, but Minoru Yoshida will carry it through for sure.
During the 1960s, Yoshida’s paintings evolved through several different styles. The two paintings on view at Ulterior, both from 1964, are strong examples from this period. Yoshida’s paintings adopt symmetrical abstract images with uniquely built central forms in a white and blue color palette. For some paintings of this era, Yoshida inserted parts made of fiberglass reinforced plastic to create a relief-like raised surface. These devices foreshadow the three-dimensional works that Yoshida began to make starting around 1967. A notable example of his work during this era, Bisexual Flower (1969), was exhibited in 2013 at Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.