What You Need to Know: Since early in his career, Japanese artist Tamihito Yoshikawa (b. 1965) has focused on abstraction, despite many of his peers’ preference for figurative trends. Drawing inspiration from his physical engagement with nature, his practice often employs unconventional methods of painting, including using trowels, twigs, and other tools to achieve an inimitable texture on his canvases. Galerie Taménaga is currently showing “Tamihito Yoshikawa,” the artist’s second solo show with the gallery. Running through December 10, 2022, the exhibition presents over 40 new works by Yoshikawa. The collection of paintings explores the artist’s personal yet intensely relatable abstract portrayals of nature—the seasons, natural landscapes, and his own perceptions of them. These artistic interpretations of the many facets of the natural world are accomplished through Yoshikawa’s deft use of color and gesture. Each work is a synthesis of technique and inspiration, resulting in an emotional exploration of nature.
Why We Like It: There is a timelessness to each of Yoshikawa’s paintings. Recalling the painterly style of Abstract Expressionists such as Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, the works can be seen as a stylistic evolution of the American Color Field movement. As with both of these styles, Yoshikawa’s work too displays an emotional element that can be read through the use of color and manner of the brushstrokes; in works like (2022), the blurred and gradating tints of green convey the solemnity and sublimity of a deep and reverberating forest. Despite these historical precedents, they are decidedly modern, which is a result of the specificity of their subject matter. Although abstract, the paintings engage with particular moments that the artist experienced with nature—referenced in the title of each work—which when considered together read as an “invitation to travel” or explore nature. Many of the works feature a surface that appears squeegeed, à la Gerhard Richter, giving the impression that a landscape could be just beneath the surface.
According to the Artist: “It must be difficult to understand my painting at first glance because there is no concrete image except its own materiality. Most of my images are inspired by what I have seen, heard, and felt in nature. The change of seasons, the variations of wind movements or light rays over time, memories and nostalgic images often become important elements of my creation. Everyone can feel connected to my paintings because they preserve images of landscapes that everyone may have seen or evoke nostalgic memories.”
See works from the exhibition below.