Japanese artist Tomoaki Suzuki’s diminutive sculptures put a decidedly contemporary twist on the millennia-long tradition of Japanese woodcarving. Drawing on his life in London, Suzuki creates painstakingly detailed portraits of diverse urban youths at one-third their actual size. The five sculptures on view on the Art Institute’s Bluhm Family Terrace demonstrate a shift in the artist’s practice—they are his first works to be executed in bronze.
Suzuki began his training at Tokyo Zokei University, where he learned the fundamental principles of figurative sculpture. The artist’s work documents consumer culture and the quickly shifting trends driven by ready access to fast fashion and recycled clothing. The expressive ensembles worn by his models provide insight into their character. Largely disinterested in gestural or emotive expression, Suzuki strives to articulate his models’ identities—as he believes they do—through their personal style.
The artist’s process begins with photographs and drawings of each sitter with careful attention to the nuances of pose and dress. He then often casts a plaster maquette of the subject's hands to determine accurate dimensions for the sculpture before beginning the laborious task of transforming a wooden block into a hyperrealistic sculpture. In the case of the works on view at the Art Institute, the wooden sculptures are then cast in bronze, and finally, meticulously painted. Because Suzuki works alone, each sculpture can take up to two to three months to complete with no more than four sculptures produced each year.
The artist maintains that by working in small scale he is able to focus his attention on the figures in a way that would not be possible on a larger scale. Plus, because of their size, the figures physically draw the viewer in and down to their level, and yet in spite of their size, the sculptures have a powerful presence.
This exhibition is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago with major funding from the Bluhm Family Endowment Fund, which supports exhibitions of modern and contemporary sculpture.
1 day 16 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago "Be a good craftsman; it won't stop you being a genius.”
Advice from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, on his birthday.
See 13 paintings by the great French Impressionist—now on view: http://bit.ly/2lj3AVq
2 days 10 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Go
Speed is both a product of modern life and an agent of it. At the turn of the 20th century, new technologies of mobility and transmission—trains, cars, airplanes, radio, film, television, to name only a few—increased the pace of life, collapsing distances between people and places and assaulting the senses.
Go, the second exhibition in the Art Institute’s Modern Series, explores how artists responded to different ways of experiencing and seeing the world in the accelerated modern age—through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, designed objects, textiles, books, and films.
2 days 15 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Happy birthday to Winslow Homer. In 1883 the artist moved to a small coastal village in Maine, where he created a series of paintings of the sea unparalleled in American art. The paintings he created after 1882 focused almost exclusively on humankind’s age-old contest with nature.
In The Herring Net, Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other unloads the catch. Utilizing the teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells. Homer’s isolation of these two figures underscores the monumentality of their task: the elemental struggle against a sea that both nurtures and deprives.
See five paintings by Winslow Homer in Gallery 171 of American Art—http://bit.ly/2l89rfx