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(1913 – 2015), Japan

Tomie Ohtake Biography

Born in 1913 in Kyoto, Japan, Tomie Ohtake embarked on an artistic career late in life in 1951, after settling in São Paulo in 1936. Having originally travelled to Brazil to visit her brother, Ohtake discovered it was unsafe to return to Japan, due to the onset of World War II.

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Working in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, print, and works on paper, Ohtake established herself as a representative for informal abstract art in Brazil. She explored and experimented with colour, form, and texture through paintings of abstract curvilinear forms. Created through methodical repetition and precision, her fluid lines and shapes recall Japanese tradition. Her works are a continuous investigation into colour, texture, and form, from more subtle tones to bright, vibrant colours. These were enthusiastically received by Brazilian audiences.  

Ohtake added sculpture to her practice during the 1970s and undertook a number of public commissions, many of which reside in São Paulo and are defining features of the cityscape. Recalling the same elements of colour, form, and depth that are explored in her paintings, Ohtake’s sculptures extend her two-dimensional works on a much larger scale.

Ohtake was the recipient of the Order of Rio Branco in 1988 for her sculpture commemorating the eightieth anniversary of Japanese immigration to São Paulo. In 2006, she was awarded the Brazilian Order of Cultural Merit. Ohtake featured in over twenty international Biennials over the course of her career. Most recently she was the focus of a solo exhibition Tomie Ohtake at Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2016); and had work shown in the group exhibition Inaugural Collective Exhibition at Galeria Nara Roesler, New York (2016).

Tomie Ohtake died in 2015 at the age of 101. The Instituto Tomie Ohtake, founded in 2001 by Ohtake’s son Ruy Ohtake, is a non-profit organisation that holds exhibitions of works by local contemporary artists.

Tomie Ohtake Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 1996Oil paint on canvas
200 x 200 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 2010Acrylic paint on canvas
59.3 x 39.6 x 1.4 inches
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 2013Tubular carbon steel painted with automotive paint
85.8 x 15.7 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 1987Oil paint on canvas
39.4 x 39.4 inches
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 1964Oil paint on canvas
41 x 31 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 1994Acrylic paint on canvas
200 x 400 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Utitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUtitled, 1969Oil on canvas
92 x 67 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Untitled by Tomie Ohtake contemporary artwork
Tomie OhtakeUntitled, 1986Oil on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery

Tomie Ohtake Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Sweet Spontaneous Earth at Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo
Closed
27 February–30 April 2021 Group Exhibition Sweet Spontaneous Earth Galeria Nara RoeslerSão Paulo
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Cross-cuts at Galeria Nara Roesler, New York
Closed
12 January–13 February 2021 Group Exhibition Cross-cuts Galeria Nara RoeslerNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Surface Work at Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London
Closed
11 April–19 May 2018 Group Exhibition Surface Work Victoria MiroWharf Road, London

Tomie Ohtake Represented By

Galeria Nara Roesler contemporary art gallery in São Paulo, Brazil Galeria Nara Roesler New York, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo

Tomie Ohtake In Ocula Magazine

Daniel Roesler Ocula Conversation Daniel Roesler São Paulo

Founded in São Paulo in 1989, Galeria Nara Roesler is one of the most established contemporary art galleries in Brazil. The gallery has played an important role in establishing a dialogue between Brazil and Latin America's historical artists and a generation of contemporary artists as well as introducing Brazilian artists to a wider...

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Tomie Ohtake In Related Press

Surface Work review – women abstract artists dazzle in historic show Related Press Surface Work review – women abstract artists dazzle in historic show 15 April 2018, The Guardian

There are certain shows that change one's sense of art. Surface Work is one of them. Spread across two sites, it is nothing less than an anthology of abstract painting spanning an entire century, from early constructivism to post-digital sampling, in which every work holds its own and every work is by a woman. This is a rare and historic event....

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The world is our home. A poem on abstraction Related Press The world is our home. A poem on abstraction 18 February 2016, Art Asia Pacific

At a time when the traversing of borders, by people, information and culture, is at the forefront of international consciousness and concern, Para Site, an independent art center in Hong Kong, is presenting an exhibition of four postwar artists whose outputs have shown just how fluid such boundaries can be. Held in Hong Kong’s North Point...

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