Yizhak Elyashiv and Masako Kamiya Press Release

Yizhak Elyashiv: Works on Paper
Masako Kamiya: New Paintings
September 8 – October 10, 2020 at Gallery NAGA

Yizhak Elyashiv: Works on Paper and Masako Kamiya: New Paintings are both on exhibition from September 8 through October 10.  Due to Covid-19 precautions, there will be no public reception for the artists.  The gallery will be open to no more than 5 visitors at a time and masks and social distancing are required at all times.

Elyashiv is a native of Israel who has lived and worked in Providence, Rhode Island since 1991.  His best-known prints, which have been shown and collected by museums throughout the country, are records of physical activity in and out of the studio, “maps” of gestures and measurements undertaken in the landscape and on his printing plates.

In a statement for an exhibition, Elyashiv describes the importance of the landscape.

When I first arrived in Ireland for my first (of what would become many) artist residencies, I was immediately captivated by the drama of the living past on the landscape.  The beauty of the fields, the ever-changing weather that enveloped them, the people who lived and died working them, and the people who left and now only imagine them, alchemized in the work.  With each visit to County Mayo and as my understanding of Irish culture grew, qualities of  “place, “ specifically this place, slowly found there way into my work.

“Landscape” is about observing and documenting the relationship between landscape and memory, place and history.  Human activity over time has shaped the landscape in ways that are not always obvious.  Time, weather, and fleeting innovation erases what was once present.  Although signs of this long record of human activity are not often immediately visible, through visual and physical excavation, I come to see and connect with a place’s past.

I am specifically interested in acts of adaptation.  As an immigrant and traveler, I am familiar with the process of adjusting one’s self to a new place.  The actions people take when a familiar environment becomes unfamiliar through disaster, or when an unfamiliar place becomes home through migration or immigration, mold and meld the physical world, pulling the culture along behind.  Natural blights leading to an economic disaster, personal loss of life, families torn apart–these acts of adaptation leave a record.  The work will explore traces of adaptation that are left upon the landscape.

The strictness and concision of marks that once used to characterize Elyashiv’s work continue to untangle in this most recent grouping of work.  In fact, some of the works on paper have abandoned the use of the printing press and are simply water and ink drawings.  These highlight the process and in turn become spontaneous records of Elyashiv’s mark making.

Elyashiv’s prints have been exhibited and collected by the Israel Museum, the British Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among others.

Having taken a hiatus from painting on wood ten years ago, Kamiya is back to using the substrate in the current exhibition.  Three dense, elaborate panels anchor the show opposite walls of light and airy framed works on paper.  The panel paintings appear to be monotone, but actually consist of countless shades and tints of blues, yellows and reds.  These panels are a heavy contrast to the lighter tones that lace their way through the paintings on paper.

While her technique has subtly shifted over the past two decades, Kamiya continues to use singularly unique mark-marking in creating her paintings.  Using acrylic gouache, she puts down a dot of paint, lets it dry, then adds another.  She repeats the process until stalactites of differing heights emerge.  Each layer on the surface, or dot, is of a different color, so the work, observed from an angle, becomes a forest of multi-colored columns.

Seen from straight on, a star or diamond shape emerges from the composition on many of Kamiya’s works on paper.  This star-like form, not symbolic in any way, allows her to organize her marks.  Kamiya’s work is process oriented; the grid and shape allow her to create structure and symmetry.

Visual details like these “stars” enhance the sculptural quality of Kamiya’s work, which encourages the viewer to interact with the work from every angle.  Kamiya comments on the sculptural aspect of her work: “My intention is to challenge the way a painting is conventionally perceived.  The sculptural surface moves viewers across the field of the painting.  This forces the viewer’s eyes to mix and optically process the various properties of color.  Ultimately, the viewers experience the subtle metamorphosis of the colors in the painting as the painting shifts from two dimensions to three dimensions and back again, according to the viewer’s angle to and distance from the work.”

10% of all proceeds from the sale of Kamiya’s work will be donated to the Montserrat College of Art Student Scholarship Fund.