We are pleased to present new sculptural paintings by Robert Yasuda (b. 1940) who is known for luminous multi-panel works on carved wood that transmit and transform light. Notable installations include large, site-specific paintings at MoMA PS1; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Clocktower Gallery, New York; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Early exhibitions include solo shows at Galerie Bruno Bischofberger (Zurich and St. Moritz), 1968 and 1969, and in 1975, the first of five shows at Betty Parsons Gallery, New York.
The artist’s latest body of work is a culmination of his decades-long exploration of perception, light and space. On view will be a series of atmospheric paintings rooted in his early encounters with nature in Hawaii where he was born and raised.
Yasuda’s iridescent paintings are composed of translucent veil-like fields of color layered on slabs of wood that protrude from the wall or nestle into corners. Several works are constructed to cast a reflected glow of colored light into the surrounding space. Depending on where you stand, the surfaces of the paintings shift in color and temperature.
“For many people, looking at a painting for 20 seconds can be extremely long but these are pieces that reveal themselves over time,” says Yasuda, who invites viewers to pause and immerse themselves in the work in order to perceive these subtle transformations.
Yasuda begins by shaping wooden panels, which are up to two inches thick, with chisels and grinders. Softening harsh vertical lines, he introduces bowed and gently sloping edges as well as sharply upturned corners. After painting a base layer onto the wood, he wraps the wood in diaphanous cotton. Adding as many as 40 layers of pearlescent acrylic paint, he suspends the fabric amid layers of luminous color. Most of his works are multi-paneled, with intricately wrought and detailed seams, and mounted on cradle-like structures that push them away from the wall.
Several of the works on view feature aqueous expanses of rich blues and lush greens evoking the ocean. In other pieces, sensuous swathes of paint evoke sunsets or the iridescent lining of seashells. “My entire childhood I saw myriad greens in the countryside of Hawaii and I spent a great deal of time diving…These works are connected with that point of view and the process of meditating on nature,” says Yasuda.