It’s Day 145 and it’s a beautiful day out! Did a bunch of gardening and spent a good amount of time outdoors. Didn’t start my painting until later. My hubby spent a couple hours last night putting up a TV into my art studio so that I can watch stuff when I sew and paint. How fun. I can now watch Vikings or whatever silly SF show I want. 🙂 Join me in celebrating Jiro Yoshihara today. Through him I found a whole group of artists known as the Gutai. I’ll definitely be honoring some of them soon too.
Jirō Yoshihara (吉原 治良 Yoshihara Jirō, January 1, 1905 – February 19, 1972) was a Japanese painter. In 1954, along with Shōzō Shimamoto, he co-founded the avant-garde Gutai group in Osaka. He was a businessman and scion of a family that owned a cooking-oil company, along with a group of young, Hanshin-region artists. Yoshihara had taught Western-style painting before becoming Gutai’s leader. Yoshihara wrote the “Gutai Manifesto” in 1956 and was the leader of the so named group of internationally acclaimed avant-garde artists representative of Japan’s post-war art world.
He worked in surrealist and abstract expressionist painting styles before turning, in his
final years, to the repeated depiction of circles reminiscent of “satori,” the enlightenment of Zen. This white circle was made by leaving the canvas unpainted while painting the background black. When asked about his circles, Yoshihara said that he could not manage to paint even one circle with satisfaction, an indication of the depths of his pursuit of this form. Indeed, no two of his circles are shaped exactly alike. He was the leader of the Gutai Group until his death in 1972.
In the early 1950s, works by Yoshihara were featured in the opening shows of Nihon Kokusai Bijutsu-ten (International Art Exhibition Japan) and Gendai Nihon Bijutsu-ten(Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan) during the resurgence of contemporary art in Japan. In Osaka 1951, Yoshihara and others established the Gendai Bijutsu Kondan Kai (Contemporary Art Discussion Group), known as “Genbi”. This group served as a workshop and forum for creating new art forms merging Eastern and Western culture as well as the modern and traditional.
The main focus of Yoshihara was gaining recognition in the art world through
Japanese tradition. 1953 first exhibition of the Contemporary Art Discussion Group was held. At this time Yoshihara operated workshop out of home in Shibuya; one of his students was Shōzō Shimamoto who would later be part of the Gutai group. Around the same time, a group called Zero Society had formed who experimented with conceptual and performance art. They would later join the Gutai formed by Yoshihara in 1954.
During this time period, Yoshihara drew inspiration from children’s art, Zen calligraphy, and action painter Jackson Pollock. He rejected Japanese modernism of the 1950s and abandoned formal abstract painting. In December 1954, Yoshihara co-founded the Gutai Art Association which would later debut in spring of 1955 at the 7th Yomiuri Independent. The Gutai became known for their avant-garde performances and artistic methods. Yoshihara also wrote the group’s “Gutai Manifesto” in 1956.
Aside from being involved with the Gutai group, Yoshihara was also involved with Morita Shiryu and the avant-garde calligraphy movement
called Bokujin-kai. From 1962, Yoshihara worked on a series of circle paintings inspired by Zen tradition.
In this period of time, he moves from the stormy impasto surfaces of the Gutai period to singular circles of water based acrylic on red, white, or black backgrounds. Yoshihara died in Ashiya, Japan in 1972.
Biography is from wikipedia.
I thoroughly enjoyed painting this piece…it was definitely “satori” to paint it. The Japanese term for “awakening”. This was a very zen experience.
I hope you enjoy it and I will see you tomorrow on Day 146! Best, Linda