Willem Baars Projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Akio Igarashi (1938); Paintings and Drawings, 1975 – 1995.
Igarashi’s fundamental research into form, color and surface struck an chord when it made its first appearance in our gallery in 2016. We showed a series of paintings from the 1970s which had been treated by scraping off the paint layers with meditative precision. Igarashi uses this method to investigate ways of making ideas of time and space coincide in his work. This fascination can be traced back to the concept of ‘being-time’, a fundamental notion in Zen Buddhism. This translation of an ancient philosophical tradition into a contemporary abstract image has been a distinctive characteristic of Japanese art during the past decades.
The focus in the actual exhibition is on paintings from the 1980s. They are the product of the same consequent way of thinking as his earlier work, but with a diametrically opposed working method. Instead of scraping away layers of paint, the concept of elimination is conveyed by applying new paint layers over the underlying image. But whatever method he chooses, it always produces a texture that seems to be frozen in time, and at the same time reveals an endless wealth of possibilities.
In order to give a better insight into Igarashi’s studio practice, we have included a series of large drawings from 1975 in which subtracting and adding is taken to the extreme. Igarashi has succeeded in translating the tactile quality of his painting method onto paper. The chosen format harks back to ancient Japanese traditions, while their aspect is firmly grounded in the neo-avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s. His drawings are an exciting addition to the paintings that are on view.