Tadaaki Kuwayama had his first solo exhibition in New York in his late 20s in 1961 at the famed Green Gallery. He was an early exponent for a radically new reductive language for painting. In the past 50 years, he has shown all over the world and last week a new exhibition of his work opened at Gary Snyder in Chelsea. The new Snyder gallery space is the perfect setting for Kuwayama’s beautiful work.
Snyder’s gallery is one of the few in New York that specializes in abstract art, similar to the role Eric Stark played in the 1990s in SoHo and Chelsea. However, Snyder has focused more on representing artist’s estates and re-igniting interest in overlooked or forgotten artists. Tadaaki Kuwayama is an artist who has produced an extraordinary body of work , working quietly in his Chelsea studio while art fashions have come and gone. He is revered in his native Japan but in America has remained known only among those keenly interested in abstraction.
That has been changing over the course of the past few years beginning with a wonderful show of his paintings from the 1970s in 2008 at Gary Snyder. He is currently part of a show at the Guggenheim in New York focusing on 1960s monochrome painting and will be having major museums shows later this year and next in Japan and South Korea.
The centerpiece of this new show is a work comprised of 22 identical 8 x 8 x 2.25” panels of reddish anodized aluminum. Spanning an entire wall, they are both monumental and light as air. Behind that wall, is a new floor piece made up of 8 identical units of anodized titanium. They strike me as little Olitskis (the sprayed ones) that somehow dematerialize. The installation of his work at this show is of the highest order.
The exhibition runs through February 25. Gary Snyder is located at 529 W. 20th Street, 10th floor