Kikuo Saito (1939-2016) is an internationally acclaimed artist who was born in Tokyo, Japan. In 1966, Saito began working in New York City, where he would become the studio assistant for Helen Frankenthaler, Larry Poons, and Kenneth Noland.
It is fitting that Saito built his career in New York; his work radiates the sensibility of artists from the renowned New York School. We can see a strong likeness to seminal Abstract Expressionists: Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, and Hans Hofmann. The dynamic paintings within this exhibition were created by placing the canvases on the floor. While painting, Saito was able to dance around the canvases, generating motion and energy. Moving freely around his works allowed Saito to layer his compositions in a complex, rhythmic manner. These paintings are filled with pigment from edge to edge; they are beautifully abstract and allude to atmospheric environments. Saito’s lyrical paintings are robust yet harmonious and are defined by thoughtful color and powerful brushstrokes.
These works are rooted in color and in the very act of creating brushstrokes. Each work embodies a melodic song and dance denoting resolve, grace, strength, and a language of gestural marks that speak to the artist’s process and give glimpse into his process.
The body of work presented in this collection came from The Estate of Kikuo Saito and are being shown for the first time. The works represent the culmination of decades of artistic development; they are some of the artist’s most fluid, evolved, passionate and vibrant paintings. These works help us to honor the memory of Kikuo Saito, a great artist of our time.