New YorkTadaaki Kuwayama: Construction / Material
David Richard Gallery presents “Construction / Material,” a solo exhibition of paintings and installation artworks by New York-based artist Tadaaki Kuwayama.
The presentation contains 6 significant works that span from 1965 to 1999, including: two monochrome acrylic paintings on canvas subdivided into quadrants with aluminum strips from 1965; a larger silver monochrome acrylic painting on canvas bisected with an “X” made of aluminum strips from 1974; a large painting measuring 84 inches square comprised of 6 vertical panels of alternating metallic brown and grey paint joined together with aluminum strips; an installation work from 1992 comprised of 12 panels measuring 24 inches square and in three sets of four metallic colors including: pink, yellow, blue and green on Bakelite board; and last, a large installation work from 1999 consisting of 12 planks of anodized aluminum measuring 86.5 x 7 inches each in alternating colors of pink and silver.
Kuwayama is known for his minimalist artworks that are made of reductive shapes that function as building blocks. The shapes are transformed into artworks by the artist assembling them into constructions of multi-component individual works as well as site-specific installations that transform a space with an immersive experience.
Color is the focus and primary element for Kuwayama and the reductive shapes are the vessels for the pigment. He explores different materials for the supports as the provide unique interactions between the pigment and light, thus the colors shift and change. His use of metallic paints and anodized aluminum create entirely different viewing experiences as the color reflects or shifts with changes in the light source, angle of the light as well as distance and position of the viewer. Scale became another important parameter for Kuwayama’s works. As the constructions became larger, turning corners and viewed on multiple walls simultaneously, the colors were different on different walls or even along the same wall due to the interplay of the pigment, physical surface of the supports, source and angle of the light and the viewer’s position and engagement.
Monochrome painting was and is not the focus of Kuwayama’s artwork per se, it became the vehicle along with the reductive shapes of squares and rectangles that allowed him to the explore color in subtle and elegant ways. His toolkit for such explorations included a host of materials (canvas, acrylic, metallic paint, Bakelite, aluminum, titanium) along with his constructions and scale of those constructions. The other key variables that are less in his control over time, even with site specific installations, include light and the viewer for reasons noted above. The combination of these elements creates powerful, thoughtful artworks that are serene and meditative, while exhilarating and dynamic at the same time, albeit low key.
The descriptions and discussions of the artworks are not important to Kuwayama. He is concerned with the final objects themselves when assembled and installed. Then, it becomes about the viewing experience, challenging perceptions of color, space and infinity. That is why his artworks are reductive and minimal, with no reference or representation, detached all emotion and subjectivity so that it becomes an individual experience and comprehension for each viewer.
About Tadaaki Kuwayama:
Tadaaki Kuwayama was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1932 and studied traditional nihonga painting at the Tokyo National University of Art. in 1958, he and his wife, artist Rakuko Naito, moved to New York City. His contemporaries included other well-known minimalist artists, including Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin and Walter De Maria. However, Kuwayam developed his own distinct approach while maintain a very reductive, clean aesthetic.
Kuwayama’s work has been exhibited in many solo exhibitions at Green Gallery, New York; Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich, Switzerland; Museum Folkwang, Essen, West Germany; Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, Germany; Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan; and National Museum of Art, Osaka, among others. His artworks have been included in many important group exhibitions in international museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and Nationalgalerie, Berlin, among others. Kuwayama’s artworks are included in more than 40 international museums and public collections, including: Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Nationalgalerie Berlin, Berlin, Germany; The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; and Nagoya City art Museum, Nagoya, Japan among others.
All Artwork Copyright © Tadaaki Kuwayama, Courtesy David Richard Gallery