Tsuyoshi Maekawa


acrylic on sewn cotton cloth and burlap
9 5/8 x 13 1/8 inches

Like some of the other Gutai artists, once I found the basic techniques and materials that really seized my attention, I stuck with them and experimented with them over time to see how much I could find in and coax out of them. – Tsuyoshi Maekawa

Tsuyoshi Maekawa became an official member of the avant garde Japanese art group Gutai in 1962 and was active in the group until it ended in 1972 when the group’s leader, Jiro Yoshihara, died. From the early 1960s on, burlap has been Maekawa’s signature material, and the artist continues to find new ways to unearth its expressive potential. Maekawa has always eschewed the use of burlap as a backdrop for painting, but instead has reveled in its abstract potential by cutting, folding, tearing, and painting the versatile, material. Here, the artist has stretched, folded, and sewn together the coarse fabric onto canvas to create diagonal creases that run across both materials. The chattered grid of the burlap is accentuated by the layered red and pink paint. Maekawa’s work has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions at Guggenheim Museum, New York; Fortuny Museum, Venice; National Museum of Art, Osaka; and Jeu de Paume National Gallery, Paris, among many others.