Artists U - Z
Nochi no Tsuki Nochishitenaraba Yaseotoko (haiku)
Digital print on canvas (Original: Mixed media on canvas, 2020), 26 1/2 x 16 inches, 2020
Akira Uno (a.k.a. Aquirax Uno, b. 1934) is one of Japan’s leading artists and illustrators with a career spanning six decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was involved with the Japanese underground art movement, and collaborated in experimental theater productions. Now, he is best known for his fantasized portraiture, often of timeless characters, rendered finely in pen and ink, though he frequently uses collage and bright colors. Many of his illustrations feature a mysterious female figure with eyes heavy with ennui. In this image, inspired by a haiku poem by Mutsuo Takahashi, a slender, sylph-like young man holds a crescent moon and a young woman wears a hawk headdress.
Giclée print on paper, 57 x 40 1/2 inches, 2021
Taro Uryu (b. 1980) is a Tokyo-based illustrator who has created a highly recognizable style of graphic expression for department stores, clothing brands, book covers, and magazines. Uryu’s female figures are simple and often geometric in form, with long limbs, tiny round mouths, and wide blue eyes, which the artist explains represent the sea and sky. Many of his women wear clothing inspired by the shapes and colors of objects, birds, and animals, such as calico cats and red-crested cranes, as in this image. He eliminates the figures’ facial expressions, giving them the sereneness and majesty of a Buddha image that transcends joy, sadness, and other emotions.
Giclée print and silkscreen on canvas , 48 x 38 inches, 2019
Masanori Ushiki (b. 1981) has worked in a broad range of artistic realms, from stationery and web design to illustration for varied clients, including Beams, Nintendo, Converse, Red Bull, Le Monde, and Park Hotel Tokyo. He is currently a freelance artist and illustrator best known for his colorful and often humorous, larger-than-life characters inspired by Japanese pop culture, anime, manga, and sci-fi from the 1980s and 1990s. With his groups of fashion-conscious girls and comical aliens, Ushiki aspires to create bold, authentic characters that will give viewers hope for the future.
Digital print on canvas (Original: Acrylic on board, 1981), 33 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches, 2021
Harumi Yamaguchi (b. 1941) is a leading name in Japanese advertising; she pioneered the flat airbrush aesthetic that became closely associated with commercial illustration. Born in Shimane, she graduated in oil painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, and from the 1970s to the mid-1980s, she spearheaded advertising for the retail establishment PARCO. Her role with PARCO allowed her to portray an emerging cosmopolitan woman, freed from traditional feminine roles and empowered to define herself through consumerism. In her airbrushed designs, her women, popularly known as “Harumi Gals,” are often glamorous, strong, and active, confidently returning the gaze of the viewer.
The Room of the World Map
Digital print on tarpaulin banner, 34 x 23 1/2 inches, 2012
Originally from Miyazaki prefecture, Yuichi Yokoyama (b. 1967) studied oil painting at Musashino Art University and after graduating began to draw manga as his preferred mode of expression. In what he describes as “drawing time,” Yokoyama aims to create a sense of time and space using features unique to manga. Instead of dialog, he uses onomatopoeic phrases such as “do do do do” and “wa-.” Characters move freely and seemingly with speed, within highly rhythmic and often geometric compositions. Yokoyama calls his style “neo-manga”—a new style of manga that can overcome the limits of a two-dimensional media to depict time and space.
Ecstatic Butter Chicken
Acrylic on kento paper board on canvas, 13 x 11 1/2 inches, 2016
Illustrator Rina Yoshioka (b. 1977) trained in art at Tokyo’s Tama Art University. She is inspired by the mood and aesthetic of Japan’s Showa era (1926–1989), especially the hand-drawn posters and magazine and record covers. More than being nostalgic for the Showa era, she is energized by the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating art during this time. In this painting, an imitation of a commercial poster, she presents a Japanese woman dressed in a kimono apparently swooning before a dish of “Ecstatic Butter Chicken.” Butter chicken curry is an Indian dish that was invented in the mid-twentieth century but only became popular in Japan in the 1990s. A fan of curry herself, Yoshioka has playfully imagined a Showa-era advertisement for this dish.
Bitchu Castle - Matsumoto
Oil on canvas, 21 x 25 1/2 inches, 2021
Megumi Yoshizane (b. 1970) studied art at private school and university. In her oil paintings, she strives to capture the many moments that make up our world and our lives. Yoshizane paints scenes that fascinate her, such as this image of two visitors exploring the ruins of a castle. She ruminates on the scene while painting it in the hope that her work will represent the energy of the moment, whether warm and calm or lonely and anxious, and continue to release it forever. Yoshizane’s goal is to express this energy honestly, emphasizing the balance between light and shadow.
Ink and acrylic on paper, 23 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches, 2020
Mayu Yukishita (b. 1995) studied graphic design at Tama Art University. She has been working as an illustrator for commercials, music, and book cover design, and recently founded her own fashion brand, Esth. As an artist, she works in a photorealistic style, creating paintings in oil and acrylic, as well as digitally. In some of her works, she also incorporates elements of manga style; in her portraits, for example, she enlarges the eyes slightly. The images, mostly of young women who stare boldly at the viewer, have a dark, moody quality to them, an emotional edge that elevates the work beyond realism.
Untitled (Mr. George)
Giclée print on paper, 33 x 23 1/2 inches, 2021
Tokyo-based artist Teruhiko Yumura (b. 1942) is an illustrator, designer, manga artist, and music critic, who graduated from Tama Art University’s Department of Graphic Design. He was one of the pioneers of the heta-uma aesthetic (“poorly drawn but well-conceived”) of Japanese illustration, in which artists create imagery that intentionally looks poorly drawn. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yumura drew covers for the magazine Garo, which specialized in alternative and avant-garde manga. He was influenced by both Japanese and American comic books and has collaborated with numerous Japanese short comics and the American magazines Wet and Raw. He uses several pen names, including Terry Johnson, as in the works in this exhibition, and is often referred to as “King Terry.”
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