Ryuji Tanaka

SEI (1)

mineral pigment and mixed media on canvas
22 3/4 x 23 1/8 inches

A member of the Gutai Art Association from 1965-1967, Ryuji Tanaka (1927-2014) blended traditional Japanese painting with an avant-garde approach to application and subject matter. Using a traditional nihonga technique where pigments are applied with glue, Tanaka’s paintings allow the powdered minerals to sparkle and brighten even within darker fields of color. An early work, Sei (1) epitomizes Tanaka’s energetic painting style and the luminescent quality of the nihonga method. Golden hues emerge from deep within the work, and variations in the texture and handling of the pigment are left visible by the artist. Previously part of the Pan-real Art Association (a movement to revolutionize Japanese painting), Tanaka was brought into the Gutai group by his close friend Kazuo Shiraga, who had introduced him to the group’s leader Jiro Yoshihara.