Blum & Poe is pleased to present new paintings by Yukie Ishikawa. This is Ishikawa’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and her first solo show in the United States.
This exhibition focuses on new works from the ongoing Impermanence series. Ishikawa began making these highly intricate abstractions in 2012, as she contemplated the ever-shifting appearance of the landscape outside her studio in Hidaka City, north of Tokyo, as well as the transience of her own existence within it. Searching for a means to render the ephemerality of nature in an abstract painterly language, she began to rework earlier canvases that had once seemed complete by adding new layers of lines and grids, some with sand mixed into the paint. Now responding to the given conditions of an existing painted surface rather than a blank canvas, Ishikawa seeks to generate a new pictorial meaning in which the lower palimpsest layer interacts with the form, color, and texture of the superimposed layers.
Ishikawa’s practice is distinct for its deconstruction of Modernist abstraction and the monochromatic, frontal, and vertical-horizontal grids found in Minimalist art by drawing on compositions and techniques found in historical Japanese painting. The artist uses irregular groupings of curved and diagonal lines—reminiscent of the skewed perspectives seen in ancient Japanese scroll paintings—as well as dense optical color mixing to disrupt the viewer’s gaze and prevent it settling on a single point, grid, or layer. Some of the paintings are studded with dense clusters of thickly textured dots, which Ishikawa describes as a contemporary interpretation of the tentai method. Translating literally as “spot and substance,” tentai is an ink-painting technique that dates back to 9th-century China in which trees, rocks, and mountains are depicted through the application of pointillist ink dots, creating a hazy sense of vitality and rhythm.
Previously, Ishikawa was featured in the two-part survey Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s, held at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles in 2019 and curated by Mika Yoshitake. This exhibition featured paintings made at the beginning of her career, in the context of the Japanese New Painting movement, which developed alongside American and European Neo-Expressionism. During this period, her compositions were based on photographs and advertisements found in magazines and newspapers, which she enlarged, projected, and traced onto the canvas. Deliberately composing and coloring the abstractions in order to obfuscate the identity of the original subject matter, she aimed to create “a pictorial space outside of the three-dimensional space to which those things belonged.”
Yukie Ishikawa was born in Tokyo in 1961 and graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at Musashino Art University, Tokyo in 1983. She currently lives and works near Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture. Since the late 1980s she has held regular solo exhibitions in Japan and her paintings have been featured in prominent group exhibitions, including The Vision of Contemporary Art, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, Japan (1995 and 1999); Remaking Modernism in Japan 1900–2000, University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2004); The Power of Painting—Japanese Painting since 1980, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2005); Primary Field: The State of Contemporary Art—Conversation with the 7 Fields, Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, Japan (2007); Minimal/ Post Minimal—The Contemporary Japanese Art from 1970s, Utsunomiya Museum of Art, Utsunomiya, Japan (2013). Her work is represented in the collections of the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan; Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan; Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, Japan; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; National Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa, Japan; and the Utsunomiya Museum of Art, Utsunomiya, Japan.