Louis Stern Fine Arts is pleased to present “This World and the Next: Veda B. Kaya and Matsumi Kanemitsu.” This exhibition presents recent paintings by contemporary artist Veda B. Kaya alongside sumi ink and watercolor works by Matsumi Kanemitsu (1922-1992). The artistic and spiritual traditions of these artists’ multicultural backgrounds are woven intimately into their work, synthesizing a singular vocabulary from the many worlds through which they have traveled.
The undulating lattice structures that sweep through Veda B. Kaya’s paintings are drawn from the sacred geometries of Islamic art, inspired by the stained glass windows of the Blue Mosque in Kaya’s native Istanbul, Turkey. Twisting, tunneling, and warping through the artist’s crisp compositions, the recurring motif gives shape to Kaya’s meditations on the concept of Indra’s Jewel Net, to which she became exposed during her travels to India. Kaya seeks to manifest this Buddhist and Hindu concept of a great, interconnected web which links all living entities, in this world and beyond, by creating an archetypal geometric language which links artist, art, and viewer in a shared experience.
Ogden, Utah-born Matsumi Kanemitsu spent his childhood and youth with his grandparents in Hiroshima, Japan, where a neighbor was his first drawing instructor. After studying under Fernand Léger in Paris, Kanemitsu plunged into the Abstract Expressionist scene in postwar New York, striking up friendships with the likes of Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Willem de Kooning. The artist is arguably best known for his energetic, improvisational abstractions of this period, into which he wove his knowledge of traditional Japanese sumi ink painting techniques. Kanemitsu moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s, showing with the Dwan Gallery and working at the newly-founded Tamarind Lithography Workshop, where he had tremendous success translating the gestural qualities of sumi painting into spectacular, innovative lithographs.
This selection of sumi and watercolor works by the artist showcases his superb skills in these media, to which he returned often and continued to perfect throughout his decades-long career. These works reflect Kanemitsu’s lifelong fascination with nature and natural forces, stemming from his childhood in Japan. Whether serene or volcanic, evoking crashing tides or murmuring streams, they erupt with the spontaneity and immediacy of a moment of creation, mediated by the precise control of a true master.
Veda B. Kaya earned her BFA from the University of California, Long Beach, and her work has been exhibited across Southern California. Works by Matsumi Kanemitsu are held in numerous public collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.