Universe is Flux: The Art of Tawara Yūsaku

Tawara Yūsaku, Japanese, (1932-2004), Chikau (I Vow), 12.6-6, 1993, ink on paper; 10 5/8 x 8 5/8 in. (image). Collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Martha Delzell Memorial Fund.

Tawara Yūsaku (1932-2004) was a contemporary Japanese artist who created unique, amazingly energized images based on his belief that all existence is composed of the impermanent bunching together of vibrating waves of energy—what he termed “hadō” (ha-doh; literally wave-movement). Working primarily in ink on paper and strongly influenced by Buddhist thought, Tawara’s paintings are constructed from countless strokes and dots, imparting to the works an intensity of content that fills them with monumental energy. John Teramoto, IMA curator of Asian Art, introduces the work, life and beliefs of Tawara Yūsaku, on the opening night of the first large-scale exhibition of Tawara’s works (77 in all) anywhere. Tour the the exhibition immediately following the talk.

Presented by the Asian Art Society.

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Exhibition Catalogue

Recognized in Japan as a connoisseur, collector and proprietor of a famous folk art shop in Tokyo, Tawara Yusaku returned to painting late in life and had a single show in London before his death in 2004. Universe is Flux is the first examination of his accomplishments within the context of Asian and contemporary painting. The essays by IMA Curator of Asian Art John Teramoto, Stephen Addiss and David Rosand draw on conversations with the artist and notes that he left behind. They discuss how Tawara’s unique methods express his view of art and the universe at large. The essays also examine the work in the context of traditional Japanese and Chinese ink and literati painting, and focus on Tawara’s “Thinking of Leonardo da Vinci” series. Purchase the catalogue from our Museum Store.

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