Saturday, February 1, 2014

exhibition: Kazuko Miyamoto

Miyamoto was primarily a painter of large-scale bichromatic multi-media canvases, works that inflected and, in some ways, undermined formal systems with modest, organic painterly elements that would satisfy the strictest dictates of orthodox minimalism.

In 1969, Kazuko Miyamoto was working in her live-in studio at 117 Hester Street when the fire alarm went off. Congregating on the street below with other artists from the building, she met her neighbor Sol Le Witt, and soon after become his assistant. For several decades, she executed his wall drawings and oversaw the production of his modular cube sculptures.

Today, the Japanese-American artist is best known for her signature post-Minimalist works. Her recent self-titled exhibition in Invisible Exports examined the beginnings of her work and featured a judicious selection from 1970s drawings as well as one of her signature installation pieces—a structure made simply of thread and nails that protrudes from the bare walls of the space.

Miyamoto (now the owner of Gallery Onetwentyeight, in Manhattan's Lower East Side) developed her signature nail and thread style of installation throughout the '70s. She continued building these site-specific sculptures throughout her career. And over time, she found herself gradually abandoning strict measurements. Her sculptures became increasingly organic. As Miyamoto once wrote of herself in a press release for her first solo exhibition in New York in 1973: "Kazuko create[s] linear system by extending string between nails on wall. These materials and lighting form an area of sensitivity and spaciousness. The most beautiful is to have nothing on the wall, the second most beautiful is to have line on it, and then the third is to break the wall."

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