One could hardly define Suda Kokuta’s artistic style. This influential artist started his career as a figurative painter. He was quite a successful artist then – winning various awards and joined artist groups. However it was not until 1950s that he started to create in an abstract manner he was known for nowadays. During the 1950s, groups of artists shared a common interest in exerting freedom of expression, separate from the influence of the antiquated art associations. In 1952 Suda co-founded the Modern Art Discussion Group (Genbi) which provided a forum for discussions on art theory and practice amongst its members who also included Jiro Yoshihara (1905-1972) and Shiryu Morita (1912-1998); these discussions would later form the foundations of the Gutai group. Although Suda did not join the group to keep his practice independent, inevitable attention flew to him domestically and internationally. In his later career, Suda began to focus on producing bold calligraphic works featuring Buddhist dictums.
Buddhism spirit was always part of his creative activity. He was such an pure yet persistent person that a priest once referred to him as Kyoojin Kokuta, or Madman Kokuta. What on top of canvas and paper were not only thick layers of materials, but also Kokuta’s pure heart, passion and spiritual minds. Kokuta Suda’s works are in numerous museum collections, including Miho Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For a similar painting by the same artist, see Iida City Museum, ed., Suda Kokuta ten: hotobashiru inochi gagyo 50 nen (Suda Kokuta’s Exhibition: Commemorates 50th year anniversary of artist's career) (Nagano: Iida City Museum, 1992), no. 78.