Sadamasa Motonaga (1922 - 2011)
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Sadamasa Motonaga (1922 - 2011)

WORK, 1961

Sadamasa Motonaga (1922 - 2011)
Work, 1961
Oil on canvas, signed in Japanese Motonaga, and to the reverse in English and Japanese Sadamasa Motonaga, and titled and dated as above
33.3 x 24.2cm.
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Lot Essay

Motonaga was a self-taught artist who joined the Gutai Art Association in 1955, one year after its formation. He participated in all Gutai exhibitions until 1971. With little money to invest in materials, he experimented with cheap, non-art mediums and found objects. Before a residency in New York in 1966 which dramatically changed his style, his painted work was in part inspired by tarashikomi, a traditional Japanese painting technique, which resulted in him pouring different coloured paints on canvas without blending them, but allowing each different colour to run and mingle against each other. In doing so, Motonaga was responding to Gutai’s principles of experimentation with technique and rejection of the paintbrush, by pouring the paint onto his canvases.

Tarashikomi is a painting technique in which pale black ink (sumi) or colour is brushed onto an area of a painting, and then, either darker sumi or the same or a contrasting colour is dropped into the first before it has completely dried, creating an effect of pooled colours with softly blurred edges. It was used extensively by 16th/17th century artists such as Tawaraya Sotatsu (?-1640) and Ogata Korin (1658-1716).

For two comparable works in The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, go to http:/ (titled Work, 1961) and http:/ (titled Work, 1961). For another in the Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, see Ming Tiampo and Alexandra Munro, Gutai: Splendid Playground, exhibition catalogue, (Guggenheim Museum Publications, New York), p. 164, plate 71.

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