Contemporary Master of the Week

stlukesguild

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Contemporary Master of the Week: Gerard Mas:

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Gerard Mas is a young sculptor (b. 1976) born in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Girona, Spain. He studied at Llotja Art School in Barcelona. His finest works evoke the appearance and the elegant craftsmanship of 15th century Florentine portraits:

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-Francesco Laurana

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-Francesco Laurana

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-Pisanello

Mas was born and educated in Spain. He brings a definite modern sensibility… irony… and humor (often achieved by a single well-observed anachronistic detail) to his sculptural works, and in the process manages to remind us that having real talent and skills… that being an artist… doesn’t mean you have to take yourself or the art world too seriously.

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These are incredible. I love them. He certainly is skilled! Great ideas and sense of humor too, but still elegant.

You should have a Master of the Week thread every week! :unsure::love:(y)
 
Wow! These are truly fantastic. Cutting them in such a way that shows torsos only, as opposed to full bodies, is brilliant. The combination of classical with minor surreal elements is also brilliant and gives them a unique modern twist. Not to mention the addition of paint....
By the way, I live in Platja d’Aro which is the proud neighbor of San Feliu!..!
 
Contemporary Master of the Week: Ikenaga Yasunari 池永康晟

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Born in 1965, artist Ikenaga Yasunari’s serene and soothing portraits of modern women evoke a dreamy nostalgia through their faded golden hues and elegant floating poses. Using a Menso brush, mineral pigments, and soot ink on linen cloth, Yasunari continues the ancient tradition of Nihonga painting, while simultaneously bringing modern elements to play, such as present-day clothing styles and floral textile designs. The result is both beautiful and melancholy, capturing the timelessness of the Nihonga style as well as its dimming presence through the years.

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Yasunari is one of a number of contemporary Japanese painters to have led the revival of the traditional Japanese painting technique known as Nihonga. Historically, Nihonga was characterized by the media as well as the subject matter — quotidian scenes, flowers and landscapes typically executed with tanuki (raccoon dog tail) brushes and mineral-based pigments applied to moistened washi paper.

Today, Nihonga has been given a fresh new face, with subject matter ranging from horror to hip-hop to anime. This new crop of Nihonga artists have found favor both in Japan and abroad. Among the better known artists of the “New Nihonga” are Fuyuko Matsui…

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...Keizaburo Okamura:

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... and Enoki Toshiyuki:

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Ikenaga Yasunari is perhaps the most popular of those contemporary artists who have embraced the time-honored Japanese painting method of Nihonga. In many ways his work is also the most traditional… clearly rooted in the work of artists such as Utagawa Toyoharu (1735–1814):

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Uemura Shōen (1875-1945):

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… and Hashimoto Kansetsu (1883–1945):

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Yasunari’s work also recalls the Japanese tradition of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Ukiyo-e or “The Floating World” described the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure-seeking culture of depicted scenes of the brothels, tea-hoses, and theaters… a world populated by geisha, actors, soldiers, wrestlers, courtesans, and prostitutes. Like Yasunari’s work, Ukiyo-e prints were flush with images of beautiful women in beautiful clothing:

Suzuki Harunobu (1725 – 7 July 1770):

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Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815):

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… and especially Kitagawa Utamaro (c. 1753- 1806):

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Yasunari’s warm palette echoes the colors of these earlier Ukiyo-e print-makers as well as their sensitivity to line, graphic “flatteness”, and rich patterns, as well as the bold use of black to lead or focus the eye.

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Critics have suggested a similarity between the flat patterns in Yasunari's paintings and the graphic designs of William Morris:

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Art Nouveau...

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and Edouard Vuillard:

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Of course there are similarities… but these are far more likely due to the fact that these Western artists were inspired by and building upon the same traditional Japanese sources as Yasunari.

Watching Yasunari’s work develop has been quite thrilling… and when I consider the young age of the artist, I cannot help but imagine there
is much inspired work to come. His most recent work exhibits a greater degree of decorative complexity… and even ambition. He is surely an artist to watch.

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Love Ikenaga Yasunari's work! Thanks for sharing. I don't see how he can be so prolific and still get that incredible amount of detail into his work.
 
Yasunari may just be my favorite contemporary artist. I can only think of a few others I look at as much: Michael Bergt, Aron Wiesenfeld, Bo Bartlett, Robert Kushner, Leonard Koscianski, Laura Krifka, Serge Marshennikov, Will Cotton, Nadia Waheed, Odd Nerdrum, Senju Horimatsu, Ennoki Toshiyuki, Masaaki Sasamoto, He Jiaying, Alex Gross, Liu Chenyang, Chie Yoshii, Asaf Hanuka, Victo Ngai, Kaethe Butcher, Danny Galieote, Nicola Verlato, Marco Grassi... and perhaps a dozen others. OK... my definition of "a few" is more than "a few". 😆
 
St. Luke, I was wondering if you knew of Kaethe Butcher before I posted about her. I remember you thanking me about first posting about Aron Wiesenfield way back and I'm so glad to see that he's now one of your favorite artists. I saw his work at the Los Angeles Art Fair years ago and I was so taken with the paintings. They were all framed in those old fashioned gold leaf frames. They were amazing paintings. I know of Butcher because of her interview where she spoke about Bukowski being a big part of her life. She was originally mentioned on the Bukowski forum.
 
I looked at the Kaethe Butcher images save to my hard drive and found that some date back to 6 years ago. She was a new discovery then. I posted her work as "recently discovered artist" on both Tumblr and Wet Canvas 3 or 4 years ago. I've been following her on Instagram for at least the last couple of years and she's grown in my estimation. Of course I love artists that emphasize flatness and linearity.
 
Yasunari's work oddly reminds me a bit of Patrick Nagel. Not the style so much as the compositions, tendency to flatten space, and emphasis on pretty women as his main subject. He's definitely fitting that kind of thing into more Japanese art traditions, which I like seeing (I took a class on Japanese art history in school, I like Asian art in general). It's a bit too "pretty girl art" for me, but I dig the play with pattern and his sensitivity of line.

That big Okamura installation piece looks more like my thing. I like the playful surrealism of those Mas sculptures, too.
 
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