NEW YORK, NY.- Nara Roesler New York
opened Visible Persistence: Tomie Ohtake (1957-2014) a solo exhibition by artist Tomie Ohtake (b. 1913, in Kyoto, Japan-d. 2015, in São Paulo, Brazil), curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas. The show proposes a selection of key works, embracing over 50 years of production, which together punctuate the defining phases in the artist's career, offering a succinct retrospective of her oeuvre.
With works pertaining to each of these fundamental periods, Visible Persistence: Tomie Ohtake (1957-2014) foregrounds the marked phases of the artist's career, celebrating every stage in its distinction, but also stressing Ohtake's drive to capture the density of space, color as a generative field, and the corporal experience of form.
A paramount figure in Brazilian art during the second half of the 20th and the first decades of the 21st centuries, Tomie Ohtake is known for having produced one the most compelling body of works in late modern art in the Americas, embracing painting, sculpture, print-making, drawing, collage, theater staging, and monumental civic-scaled pieces.
Ohtake, who was born in Japan in 1913, and emigrated to Brazil in 1936, lived over 100 years, and was entirely devoted to her art from the 1950's onwards. "The smell of yellow", as she often recalled, was her first impression arriving in the country, at the seaport of Santos, in São Paulo. After her beginnings as a landscape painter, Ohtake focused on abstraction to delve into the materiality of color, producing works that suggest floating figures in dense coordinates. During the early 1960's, at the acme of the constructive-geometric and rational concrete art context in Brazil, Ohtake dared to produce paintings featuring rich textural surfaces, notably made while blinding her eyes. These striking 'blind paintings' are of monumental historical significance in the Americas: their corporeal density contrasts against the backdrop of schematic concrete art, suggesting the persistence of the visible beyond rational imagination or organic vision, a bold phenomenological standpoint that stresses the whole human body -and not only its eyes- at the root of visual art.
During the 1970s and 1980s Ohtake produced an extraordinary series of paintings featuring a color-field organic driven figural version of abstraction, where form manifests itself as emerging from their limpid fields, as nameless, monumental, almost cosmic bodies. A painter and a sculptor of fields, rather than pictures or structures, Ohtake devoted her life to delve into the density of space, color as generative force and visual art as a topological experience, beautifully manifested in her late tubular sculptures and paintings of impeccable textural whiteness.