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 Masatoyo Kishi  (1924 - )

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Lived/Active: California / Japan      Known for: abstract expressionist painting, geometric steel sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Masatoyo Kishi
from Auction House Records.
Opus No. 64 - C-11, 1969
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is an exhibition review by Debra Belt, published in the Sacramento News, April 20, 2000.

"The science of sculpture.  Masatoyo Kishi at b sakata garo"

Within minutes, a deep clear bell confirms this is an exceptional show. The sound leads to a slender sculpture, a steel study of composition, meter and balance. Water circulates through the base of Sculptural Bell and fills a delicately balanced trough. At the moment the trough is brimming with water, it then tips backward and flips a small mallet that hits the main steel pipe in a resonant note of creative precision.

The Sculptural Bell is a testimony to Masatoyo Kishi's education in physics and mathematics. "As a Japanese artist in the 1905s in Tokyo, I didn't go to art school," says Kishi. "Japanese artists studied literature, economics, science; then you explored art." After his education at Tokyo University of Science, Kishi turned to abstract expressionist painting.  In the 1970s, he moved to sculpture.

Kishi's sculptures, created from steel, rusted pipe and fiberglass, are strikingly thoughtful equations of balance and intrinsic geometry. The works explore shape, planes and refraction, each presenting its own problem, each accurately answered with form, subtle color and contrasting texture.

The most intriguing works, A-2-00 Stairs Series and K-1-99 Stairs Series suspend fragile pieces of fiberglass in steel landscapes. The fiber-glass is paper-thin and resembles pieces of bone, an ingenious complement to the steel. Kishi worked with fiberglass before turning to metal for his sculpture. In these works, he says, the fiberglass suggests the human form, and the delicate pieces impart human frailty amid their metal trappings. These two works and many of of his other works include surreal metal stairs rising out of the sculptures. Kishi notes that many of his sculptures were created from memories of the World War II destruction of Tokyo.

"Many of the forms are metaphors for destruction, but the stairs are a symbol of hope rising out the ruins," he says.

Kishi's larger works take on ambitious combinations that make the asymmetrical symmetrical by bringing unlikely elements into unison. K-1-97 Framed #3 pits rusting pipe with smooth ebony plane, vivid triangular pieces and a graceful steel line.

Kihi's colors are reminiscent of an oxidizing junkyard, but he doesn't miss an opportunity to create interesting texture by contract rusting pipe with polished and painted surfaces.

Kishi's elemental colors are also present in his paintings, but on canvas he interjects cool touches of pale blue and green. He says he works with the canvas on the floor using a wooden stick to drop paint onto the surface.

"The paint brush is a difficult extension for me," Kishi explains. "What develops from this method is an orderly conversation between me and the canvas. I respond to each change taking place."

The most successful of his paintings transfers the dept and solidity of his sculpture onto canvas. The paintings appear to progress. Some, such as 64-C-6, have Kishi's trademark elements, but seem to be exploratory.  Others, such as Opus No. 62-901. are loose, bright and purely musical.  The bold and assured paintings, PA-5-93 White Circle and AP-3-93 Red Arcg, translate his wisdom of structure.  Kishi works with balancing elements, and interjecting his signature hint of hot color produces a boiling point. Despite such thought-provoking touches and juxtapositions, however, Kishi says he has no particular ideas about his work.

"I display the art works, that's it. It's up to viewers to bring their ideas."

Source:
http://www.bsakatagaro.com/reviews/masatoyokishi.html

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Masatoyo Kishi was born in Japan in 1924.  Kishi arrived in San Francisco at an early age.  An abstract expressionist, his works blend western style abstraction with eastern tradition.  He currently lives in Grass Valley, CA.
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Hackett | Mill:
Masatoyo Kishi
Born: 1924 Sakai, Japan

Education
1953
BS Physics and Mathematics from Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan

Selected Solo Exhibitions
1984
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

1972
John Bolles Collection, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA

1967
Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (also ’65, ’63)

1965
Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also ’63, ”65)
Annual Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA

1964
Fifth Winter Invitational, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA

1961
Thibaut Gallery, New York, NY

1959
Yamada Gallery, Kyoto, Japan

Selected Group Exhibitions
1997
Asian Traditions Modern Expressions: Asian American Artists and Abstraction 1945–70, Jane Voorhees
Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, NJ (traveling exhibition)

1973
Japanese Artists in America, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan

1961
International Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA

1960
City Art Museum, Kyoto, Japan
Ginza Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

Collections
Barlow Building, Washington, D.C.
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
Stanford University Museum of Art and T. W Stanford Art Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
State University College at Potsdam, Potsdam, NY
Guilford College, Greensboro, NC

Selected Bibliography
1997
Wechsler, Jeffrey, ed., Asian Traditions: Modern Expressions, Harry N. Abrams and Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New York and Rutgers, NY and NJ.

1985
Albright, Thomas, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945–1960, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

1974
Frankenstein, Alfred, A 'Classic' Retrospective, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, CA, May 23.

1973
44 Japanese Artists in America, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan.

1966
Monte, James, San Francisco, Artforum, San Francisco, CA, June.

1965
Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture: Circles, Men & Others, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

1963
Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture: Subject, Object & Content , University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

Teaching
1965–66
Holy Names College, Oakland, CA

1964–74
Dominican College, San Rafael, CA

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