San Francisco

John Koenig and Masatoyo Kishi

Woodside Gallery and Gump’s Gallery

Beside the Motherwell exhibition, two expressionist painters, John Koenig at Woodside Gallery and Masatoyo Kishi at Gump’s Gallery, were on view at the same time in San Francisco.

Both artist use complicated technical means to finish their paintings. Koenig uses a collage system where rice paper is glued over the canvas support and paint is applied over the paper as well as underneath. The generally thin, almost impoverished, look of the scrubbed paint is really the element that saves his work from becoming merely chic.

Koenig’s paint and paste technique is quite straightforward when compared to Kishi’s methods. Some years ago, Kishi, a Japanese-born San Francisco resident, abandoned the use of brushes, preferring to pour thinned paint on canvas and move it with the thin edge of wood moulding over the vans surface. After a series of these applications he then sprayed, usually with an atomizer, veils of granular paint over selected areas of the painting. In late 1965 Kishi began using a spray gun, and evolved his present spray-and-blot manner. The spraying is done in successive layers of different colors, leaving no time between the coats for the paint to dry. The painting is then places over the surface. The paper is then removed quickly, exposing fragments of each color layer in a random fashion. Kishi then allows the painting to dry and repeats the process until a rich all-over color balance is achieved.

James Monte