Maus Contemporary, Birmingham, AL
“I am most interested in developing a visual space with color and forms on a visual plane. I start with the physical materials that a painter uses and then make changes based on intuition and on my reactions to the forms and colors present. When I am out walking, I may see a road, a construction site, working people, a tree, or the sky, and I try to incorporate the feeling of these visual physical things in my work. All of them have the power to cause me to ponder the relationship between the physical shape or material and mental reaction. Other influencing factors include the weather or conditions affected by time, body or even the sound of wind.”
— Yoshishige Furukawa, 1997
Japanese artist Yoshishige Furukawa’s paintings shown at VOLTA Basel date from the 1960s to the early 1980s, created while living in New York, where the artist moved to from Japan in 1963. The selection of works includes examples of the artist’s 1960s dot paintings, then clearly showing a shift in the artist’s practice — from a traditional, paint-based, to a process-based, minimalist approach, which ultimately culminates in the artist’s series of process-based object paintings from 1972 to 1976. The non-color of black and the solid sense of the materials used such as canvas or rubber, reflect a rather reticent and ascetic impression of 1970’s art. Despite this, the various variations that were woven by the often geometric forms, continued to evoke dynamic senses of motion and expression that were alike in appearances but different in nature from the regularly repetitive element inherent to Minimalism.
Furukawa’s work was the subject of two major retrospectives at the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art in 1992 and 2015. Several of the paintings included in our exhibition were also included in said retrospectives, as well as in the recent Museum’s publication. Furukawa’s work is in numerous important Japanese Museum collections, including the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo; the National Museum of Art in Osaka; the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto; the Fukuoka Art Museum in Fukuoka; the Kitakyushu Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art in Saitama; and the Saga Prefectural Art Museum; amidst others.
His work has been exhibited in the U. S. and Japan throughout his life, including the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo, NY in 1991. He’s the recipient of numerous important grants, twice from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1990 and 1997).
“For the past few years, I have been creating both sculptures and drawings. Although they are dimensionally different, my intentions remain the same. My drawings are the result of expressing the image of three-dimensional space without any limitations of medium, whereas the process of intimately sharing two-dimensional space with the medium results in my sculptures. I am interested in expressing the three-dimensional feeling (volume, side) through both two-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds. This however does not only mean 2D or 3D, but also involves the concept of existence and reality. Regarding these experiences, I have added color to my new works. I have used color in my wooden pieces in the past, but this will be my first time acknowledging the works to have a colored side. I would like to see how the colored sides, the pieces, and space will all respond to each other in a gallery setting, and at the same time wish the existence of space itself to be emphasized. When facing the work and identifying the existence of many things, I feel as if I am immersed in the space. I believe this leads to confronting myself. Even though each viewer may experience something different when standing in front of the works, I would be extremely happy if the viewer is able to discover something within himself/herself. I wish to create a space where the works approach the viewer.”
— Akiko Mashima
Japanese artist Akiko Mashima (born 1952 in Saga, Japan) studied sculpture at the Musashino Art University in 1976, before transitioning to the Brooklyn Museum Art School in 1978-1079, and to the Art Students League (1979-1980). She lives in New York City and in Kanagawa, Japan.
Our this year’s VOLTA project includes a selection of sculptures spanning fifteen years of the Mashima’s practice. She is the recipient of a Robert Smithson Memorial Scholarship in Sculpture (1978-1979), and received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1988. Her work has been included in solo exhibitions in New York as well as in her native Japan since 1977, and was successfully represented since the mid-90’s by well known New York gallery OK Harris, founded by longtime art dealer Ivan Karp after leaving the Leo Castelli gallery in October 1969, and until Ivan Karp passed away, in 2012. Her upcoming solo exhibition at Maus Contemporary opens September 8.