From the point at which I drew “circles,”
I could do various things, create various works. I realized great possibilities.

——Yuko NASAKA

The Whitestone Gallery is honored to present the exhibition “Gutai TransForm: Yuko & Senkichiro Nasaka,” showcasing the works of the artistic couple Yuko NASAKA and Senkichiro NASAKA. “Gutai” refers to the “Gutai Art Association,” established in 1954, dedicated to transcending abstraction with the spirit of creating “unprecedented things” and “do not imitating others,” engaging in a dialogue with the world through their artworks. Starting in the early 1960s, with the opening of the Gutai Pinacoteca and the addition of new members, the Gutai artists gradually shifted their focus to two-dmentional works and the exploration of new materials. The second generation of Gutai artists, including Yuko NASAKA (b. 1938), employed unusual materials and tools to create iconic pieces. Yuko joined Gutai in 1963 and held a solo exhibition at the Gutai Pinacoteca in 1964. Her husband, Senkichiro NASAKA (1923- 2014), joined the movement in 1965 and presented his work at the 15th Gutai Art Exhibition in the same year. Their artistic styles reflect the evolution and continuity of Gutai art concepts from the first to the second generation.

Yuko Nasaka's art works

Yuko NASAKA | Work 38-1, Resin, lacquer on board, 90.5 x 90.5 cm, 1963

This exhibition, titled “Gutai TransForm,” showcases the dynamic and rich works of the two artists under the theme. Yuko NASAKA, having grown up in a household that manufactured measuring instruments, was intimately familiar with the form of the “circle” from a young age. Drawing inspiration from Japan’s longstanding traditions of pottery and lacquerware, Yuko NASAKA used a potter’s wheel to create concentric circles or spiral patterns on circular plates. Her technique, involving the use of a scraper, is related to pottery craftsmanship, and the application of paint in a flowing texture and gloss. The artworks, centered around the theme of the “circle,” not only blend traditional forms and explore the aesthetic beauty of circular imagery but also emphasize the strengthening effect formed by the accumulation of individual circular images. Art historian David T. Y. WANG suggests that the concept of repeating and accumulating units makes Yuko NASAKA on par with the artistic development of Europe and America” and “the shining effects created through repeat concentric circles or spiral lines within the works of Yuko Nasaka echoes works of the Kinetic Art and Op Art.”

Senkichiro Nasaka's art works

Senkichiro NASAKA | Work, Mixed media on paper, 47.0 x 57.0 cm, 1962

Senkichiro NASAKA entered Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in 1942, where he was a classmate of Kazuo SHIRAGA. Later, he served as an instructor at the Ichioka High School. His works were influenced by Art informel, and he presented experimental paintings with intense colors and a strong sense of fluidity, gradually becoming a representative artist of the Gutai. In addition to inheriting the fearless spirit of the first generation Gutai artists, the NASAKAs, unbound by creative forms, expanded the possibilities of aesthetics using new techniques and materials.

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