Historic Art | Kazuo Nakamura R.C.A.

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Linear Structure

Technique: oil and string on canvas

Dimensions: 16x22 in.


Kazuo Nakamura: A Human Measure, Christopher Cutts Gallery, September 28, 2004 – January 3, 2005

Linear Structure is a piece from Nakamura’s String series, which were comprised of string that had been coated with paint, laid out on canvas and then overlaid with more paint. Inspired by landscapes, Linear Structure and other pieces from the String series were composed with utmost precision and are a testament to his interest in natural patterns and balance. This piece represents the qualities of Nakamura’s work that set him apart from the other members of the Painters Eleven. While still abstract, the work’s muted color scheme and minimalistic qualities contrast against the louder, turbulent and works of his contemporaries.

About the Artist

Kazuo Nakamura, painter (b at Vancouver 13 Oct 1926; d at Toronto 9 April 2002). Nakamura was among the Japanese Canadians interned during WWII (Tashme, BC, 1942-4). After studying at Toronto's Central Technical School (1948-51), he became a member of Painters Eleven. In the 1950s and 60s his paintings were of 4 distinctly different types: dark, vaguely surreal block structures in stark environments evoking the prairies; muted landscapes with a gentle broken touch; off-white abstractions painted over spare, linear configurations of string laid down on canvas; and linear abstractions in an indeterminate space. All had a simpler structure and coloration (mostly monochrome) than the work of the Eleven.

Influenced by Jock MacDonald's interest in Moholy-Nagy and his own reading in science journals, Nakamura was often concerned with science, time and space. Nakamura described himself as seeking a "fundamental universal pattern in all art and nature." In the 1970s and 80s he increasingly emphasized his grid paintings based on number structures, which came to involve the Pascal triangle. To Nakamura, these laboriously inscribed works were a quest for some ultimate order in the apparent chaos of the universe.

(The Canadian Encyclopedia)
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