San Francisco

Masatoyo Kishi

Lanyon Gallery

Since 1961, when he arrived in the United States from Japan, Kishi has developed a visual syntax specifically grounded in the two-dimensional pictorial space of the Japanese and Chinese landscape masters. His style at the time was closely related to the mature style of Jackson Pollock in that the paint was applied to the support in an all-over manner, with individual pictorial incident subordinated to the all-inclusive design pattern. These paintings differed from Pollock’s in the relative calm of their surfaces and their thin washes of semi-transparent paint, as opposed to Pollock’s hyper-active surfaces of snarled, ropey paint. As Kishi continued painting here his pictures developed an increasingly strong object-ground relationship; no longer does the viewer feel he is inside a Hokusai wave as he looks at a Kishi painting; instead that look is replaced by the less exotic, international urban assault on the senses.

In the last eighteen months his pictures, including these in the present show, have been characterized by a deepening concern for the formal properties of the given abstract shape or mark. Automatism is yielding to the carefully conceived design.

James Monte