'My style is the top style.' Self-taught artist, Sadamasa Motonaga said confidently.
Motonaga was a core member of Gutai Art Association 1. He sought new means of expression, unprecedented forms, brilliant colours and experimentation. He initially became famous for his drip paintings, which were inspired by the traditional Japanese technique of 'tarashikomi' (wet-in-wet). Applying layers of liquid paint that were absorbed into the canvas in an irregular way.
Thereafter in the 1970s, the artist's scratchy hand-drawn forms reappeared along with the use of canned spray paint, creating a style that was fresh and raw, akin to graffiti and animation. Creating paintings that are characterised by simple lines and a gentle palette of muted primary colours.
'He was human so he had his cold side too, but just his presence close at hand filled you with warmth. Perhaps it was a kind of aura.' Etsuko, the wife of Motonaga, pays tribute to him as an artist of human warmth.
Motonaga had a unique sense of humour and an optimistic attitude. He sometimes styled himself comically an artist of 'aho ha (a foolish school).' His style was to work obeying his own feeling, without putting emphasis on art theories or ideas, while describing himself as foolish. In the latter stage of his creative career, he also created picture books for children. His humorous style has been popular through all ages.
In the spring of 2013, the exhibition 'Gutai: Splendid Playground' took place at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. At that exhibition, Sadamasa Motonaga's Work (Water), installed in the huge wellhole of the museum. Comprising a series of vinyl sheets with dyed water, hung like hammocks. Gravity pulled the sheets into curved forms, allowing the water to pool at the bottom, while the changing natural light subtly affected its jewel-like colors throughout the day.
Press release courtesy Whitestone Gallery.