NEW YORK, NY.- D'Amelio Galley
presents "Drawings from the mid-50s", an exhibition of works on paper by acclaimed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition brings together a group of 12 museum quality works dating from 1953 -1957, all originally from the extraordinary collection of Richard Castellane Kusama's New York dealer in the mid-60s. Coinciding with the final stop of the Tate Modern's traveling retrospective currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, this show provides an opportunity to see Kusama's recurring themes and motifs revealed through the intimate act of drawing.
Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and soon moved to New York in 1958 to pursue a career as an artist. With her she brought a substantial group of works on paper, made while living in her native home. Small in scale and comprised of tempera, pastel, watercolor and ball point, these works were the artistic foundation that Kusama was able to take with her on her journey. The works in this exhibition will be grouped loosely around themes that preoccupied the artist during these seminal years. The earliest influences can be seen in works such as "Archaic Dance Costume" and "The Island in the Sea No. 1" that include tendrils and anthropomorphic shapes hinting at Juan Miro and surrealism's effect on the artist while studying in Japan. Orb-like forms floating on black backgrounds, such as "Snow Ball in Sunset" and "The Flower (No. 2)", suggest Kusama's preoccupation with infinite space and the coalescing of light and form. The vertical net columns "Column (No. GOL)" and "Column No.1" present the artist's interest in continuation and infinity as her motifs seem to extend above and below the page. "Nets A.S.", the latest work in the show, and "Deprivation Net" set the stage for her exploration into repetitive monochrome "Infinity Net" paintings which by the early 60s establish Kusama's first major international success.
Yayoi Kusama has exhibited widely throughout Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East and is one of the most celebrated and vigorous artists working today. The courage and ambition that, as a young artist, motivated her to leave her traditional Japanese society, remains an inspiration. The opportunity to see the earliest works, made before her New York emersion, provides a unique view into the ideas, emotions and subjects of one of today's leading visual voices.