Masatoyo Kishi

Artist Masatoyo Kishi died recently at the age of 93 in Grass Valley, CA. Born in Sakai, Japan on March 11, 1924, Kishi graduated from Tokyo University of Science in 1953 with degrees in Physics and Mathematics. After a short career as a mathematics teacher, Kishi began exhibiting with Tekkei Kai, a group of abstract painters affiliated with the Kyoto Museum of Art. He said, “As a Japanese artist in the 1950s in Tokyo, I didn’t go to art school. Japanese artists studied literature, economics, science; then you explored art.”

In 1960 Kishi moved from Japan to San Francisco where he lived until 1988. His Opus paintings from the late 1950s-60s are notable for their sweeping calligraphic brushwork and delicately dripped pigment. Kishi painted in the traditional Japanese manner with canvases lying in horizontal orientation, the larger ones placed directly on the floor. In addition to working with large brushes, Kishi often used wooden sticks to drip the paint onto the canvas and explained, “What develops from this method is an orderly conversation between me and the canvas. I respond to each change taking place.” The Opus series reflects a variety of interests including Zen Buddhism, Taoism, 17th-century Japanese architecture and Western classical music. By the 1970s Kishi abandoned painting and devoted his practice to abstract sculpture.

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions
1959 Yamada Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
1961 Thibaut Gallery, New York, NY
1964 Fifth Winter Invitational, Palace of Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
1965 Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also ’63, ’65)
Annual Exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
1967 Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture, University of Illinois, Urbana-champage, IL
1972 John Bolles Collection, Oakland Museum, Ca
1984 Mary Porter Senson Art Gallery, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions
1960 City Art Museum, Kyoto, Japan
Ginza Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1961 International Exhibtion, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, P
1973 Japanese Artists in America, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
1997 Asian Tradtions Modern Expressions: Asian American Artists and Abstraction 1945-79, Jane Voorhees, Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, NJ

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