Sadamasa Motonaga

acrylic on canvas
51 1/8 x 76 3/8 inches

Sadamasa Motonaga was a member of the legendary Gutai Art Association and became known early on for works that featured embryonic shapes and cartoon-like forms rendered in thick pools of paint. Fueled by his continued interest in children’s art, manga, and popular culture, Motonaga’s style evolved to include hard-edged, outlined anthropomorphic forms that are fantastically strange and playful. In Eleven White, Black Flow, a group of white creatures jubilantly bounce, topple, and fly above a black wash of paint, creating a surreal landscape populated with bizarre inhabitants. This unique work blends the loosely-poured, process-based painting of Motonaga’s earlier work with the hard-edged, contoured shapes of his later work. The whimsical creatures in Motonaga’s later work create a fascinating continuity between the art of post-war Japan and the Pop-influenced works of artists like Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara. Motonaga’s work has been the subject of many retrospective exhibitions, most notably at Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art; Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum; and Mie Prefectural Museum of Art. Retrospectives of the Gutai Art Association have been held at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome; Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and most recently the 2013 Guggenheim exhibition Gutai: Splendid Playground. In February 2015, Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga will open at the Dallas Museum of Art.

estimated retail value: $100,000

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courtesy of the estate of sadamasa motonaga and
fergus mccaffrey, new york
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