The World of Kazuharu Hanada: A Variation of the Northern Island
December 18, 2021 - February 20, 2022
"Paintings composed with a theme of relations between emotion and recognition, utilizing geometric lines and shapes,"
— Japanese painter Kazuharu Hanada
Whitestone Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition, the World of Kazuharu Hanada: A Variation of the Northern Island. On view at the gallery's Taipei location, this exhibition marks his debut solo presentation in Taiwan. The show introduces over 40 new works that the artist created in the past five decades, including large-scale paintings and works on paper. As one of the representative abstract painters from Hokkaido, Hanada briefly travelled to Europe and was an active member of the avant-garde art movement in the 1970s. He studied and specialized in various forms of modern art such as Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. The unique northern Japan landscapes were depicted through his use of colourful abstraction.
Born and raised in Hokkaido, Kazuharu Hanada had a master's degree from the Tokyo University of the Arts. After travelling to Northern Europe and Italy after his graduation, he returned to Hokkaido. Inspired by American artists Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella, Hanada adopted direct composition and bold use of colour in most of his early works. In "Sock" (1975), the picture was separated into four black, white, and green sections, reminding us of a man's ankle wearing striped socks.
In the 1980s, Kazuharu Hanada started to use expressive and poetic colours to depict the landscape of Hokkaido and further developed his abstraction to a new area. In "Moonlight Night" (1983-1984), combining the black and white tone with primary colours, it displays the peaceful mountains of northern Japan. His unique expression is reflected in the nostalgia and serenity of the picture. A few years later, Hanada turned to portrait and invited his friends to be subjects. As for the oil portrait, "What's Wrong" (1991), the artist applied concise and smooth brushstrokes, in which he merged the bold painting techniques of Fauvism. It captures the expression and charm of an unknown woman while the deliberately watered-down background, focusing on the interpretation of inner emotions.
Kazuharu Hanada was born in 1946 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He enrolled in the Department of Oil Painting at the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1965 and received a bachelor's degree in 1969. He then continued his studies as a postgraduate student and was awarded the Ohashi Prize scholarship. In 1974, Hanada returned to his Sapporo's home and worked there until 2017. The Cabinet of Japan awarded the artist the Blue-Ribbon Medal for his contribution to society in 2014. His works have been exhibited in many museums, including the Royal Alberta Museum in Canada, Tokyo Central Museum of Art, Hokkaido Museum of Kotaro Museum of Art, and Karuizawa New Art Museum. Hanada's works have been the subjects of prominent collections, such as Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Kushiro Art Museum and A.I.M. Co., Ltd.
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