150 Artists

34/150: Kazuo Nakamura – Abstracts

Ages Past, 1953

Kazuo Nakamura (1926-2002) was one of Canada’s most influential abstract artists. Born in Vancouver, he was among Japanese-Canadians interned during WWII. By 1953, he was a founding member of Painters Eleven, but his unique style differentiated him from the group.

Evening Light, Oil on Masonite, 1958, 31 x 24 inches

Nakamura claimed international attention with his focus on the relationship of nature, math and science. He used subtle, refined lines, simpler structures, and monochromatic colours.

Structures, 1956. Oil on masonite, 48 × 36″

From 1954 to 1957, Nakamura produced Block Structure paintings and sculpture, followed by his String series, a suite of monochromatic landscapes.

String Painting, 1957, 14 × 17″

In the 1960s, he worked on a series of sculptural towers similar to inukshuks, which he called Tower Structures. In the early 1970s, his work took a dramatic turn – he abandoned his previous styles, and during the next 25 years produced a body of work entitled the Number Structures, containing grids, tables and triangles, in which he connected mathematics and art.

Number Structure 3

Kazuo Nakamura at the National Gallery of Canada, here.

Canadian Encyclopedia entry, here.

Extensive visuals on WikiArt, here.

This is #34 in the series 150 Artists.

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