“I want to return the painting to a pure place of emotions, and therefore I avoid representational subject matter. I want viewers to be able to enter the painting naturally and have a conversation with it.” —— Katsuyoshi INOKUMA

Whitestone Gallery is pleased to present “Cerulean Blue”, an exhibition of paintings by Japanese artist Katsuyoshi INOKUMA. Of all colours, blue has the most significant penetrating power and is diffused the most in the air, resulting in the blue sea and sky that our eyes see. For INOKUMA, blue touches people’s memories by connecting these two elements. This is INNOKUMA’s eighth exhibition with Whitestone and his first solo exhibition in Taiwan. “Cerulean Blue” will showcase over 30 paintings and works on paper that the artist created from 1997 to 2020.

Highly drawn to the self-portraits painted by the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, INOKUMA focuses on the construction of light and shadow. His portrait paintings from the early period, such as ’19-Year-old Self-portrait’ (1970) and ‘Dialogue’ (1980), breathe a sense of a surrealist atmosphere. Statue-like figures are placed in the centre of a simplified background, with a dreamlike feeling floats in the air. The artist later met an abstract painter named Masazo KAMATA in 1990. Inspired by KAMATA, he discarded the obligations to the labour of illustrating things, and turned to colourful abstract painting, presenting a feeling of contemplation.

INOKUMA also had a dynamic change in his drawing techniques. In work ‘IN BLUE Nov ’95’, he starts to explore the definition and relationship of Rectangular structure, without his dripping and sharp brushstroke. To bring out the desired depth in the blue, INOKUMA manipulates foundation layers of multiple colours and erases some of the paint after that. “Erasure” is an essential and repetitive process in his paintings.

INOKUMA also mixes coffee grounds to create a random, uneven texture; when light is reflected on it, and even more complex colour surface is produced. INOKUMA grinds pastel up in a mortar to create his pastel works, he then paints with his hands and erases using sandpaper, creating a rough texture in the material. The stage INOKUMA creates full of colours associated with air, water and land, endowing his canvas with an atmosphere of tranquility and spirituality.

Katsuyoshi INOKUMA was born in Fukushima in 1951 and graduated from Yokohama College of Art and Design in 1981. He is also the recipient of the Fukushima Art Association’s Special Selection Award (1980), the Shigeru Aoki Exhibition Award (1996), the Fukushima Prefectural Art Exhibition’s Silver Medal, as well as the Kiyoshi Saito Award (1998). His works have been exhibited in various cities, including Hong Kong, Taipei, and Tokyo. Institutions that have collected the paintings of INOKUMA in their prominent collection include the Fukushima Prefectural Medical College, the Hotel Hamatsu in Koriyama City, and the Shigeru Aoki Memorial Exhibition Committee.