Sundaram Tagore Singapore presents dynamic new Waterfall paintings by Hiroshi Senju. This is the artist's first new Waterfall series since 2015.
Over the past four years, the artist has been engaged in high-profile public projects, including two monumental paintings commissioned to mark the 1,200th anniversary of Kongobuji Temple at Koyasan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a 20.4-metre-wide byobu or folding screen at Tokyo International (Haneda) airport, Terminal 2. Having finished these large commissions, he returned to his New York studio to complete waterfalls for Beginnings.
The creative process for the Waterfalls on view in Singapore started on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The pristine beauty of Hawaii has inspired Senju's work in the past, but it was the rugged, almost prehistoric landscape of Oahu's northern side that struck a chord. 'There are places where you can feel the energy of the beginning,' he says. 'Here, I can feel the echo, the vibration of the Earth and the energy of Earth's creation.' The artist has a profound connection to and love of nature. He has been conveying in paint its power and ability to inspire awe for more than 30 years.
For the first time, Senju produced Waterfalls using platinum pigment, which imparts a subtle luminosity and sheen. The artist, who mixes his own pigments using crushed rock, coral and other natural materials, used platinum for a small group of Cliff paintings created during the lockdown, but never before in waterfall images. 'Platinum reflects the time we are living in,' Senju says. 'It has been used to make art that has endured through wars, pandemics and natural disasters.' The exhibition includes two platinum Waterfalls and two of the artist's platinum Cliff paintings.
Alongside the platinum works and iconic black-and-white Waterfalls, Beginnings features Waterfalls in vibrant colour, including red and blue. The use of vivid colour is a departure from previous exhibitions, where Senju used a more restrained palette.
The artist explores a range of compositional formats, including sweeping verticals that amplify the sensation of the water's power, energy and movement. He creates depth with asymmetrical, layered falls that conjure not just the appearance of rushing water, but also its sound, smell and feel. In other works, Senju aligns the waterfalls to one side of the composition, creating negative spaces that evoke stillness.
Press release courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery.