Kikuo Saito: Works on Paper

November 1 – December 22, 2018

Press Release

Kikuo Saito: Works on Paper
November 1 - December 22, 2018
Reception: Thursday, November 1st, 6:00 - 8:00 pm


Bookstein Projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of work on paper by Kikuo Saito. This is the artist’s first solo show with Bookstein Projects.  

This exhibition is comprised of a dozen works on paper made between 1993 and 2015. Intimately scaled, these works reveal the deft, expressive strokes of the artist’s more widely-known painting on canvas. Lines seem almost calligraphic and his gestures – scrawling. Karen Wilkin notes, “it’s impossible to spend time with these works without thinking about writing in the broadest sense of the word – with the exception of Japanese calligraphy, which is the one thing that Saito’s painting and works on paper do not evoke. Wristy marks, fluent brushwork, energetic scrawls stabs and delicate touches of the brush all make visible the presence of the hand.” [1]

This reference to handwriting and the written word is made all the more apparent in the works which are executed on magazine pages. In these, glimpses of text and headers have been drawn over and canceled out by the artist. Wilkin writes, “whether we are confronted by economical configurations of roughly stroked black, stacks of broad unfettered swipes of muted color, or exuberant bursts of knotted gestures, we are constantly made aware of the way these expressive marks were generated: by animated movements of the hand.” [2]

Kikuo Saito (b. 1939, Tokyo, Japan – d. 2016, New York) was born in Tokyo and moved to New York City in 1966. He studied at the Art Students League and worked as a studio assistant to many preeminent artists including Larry Poons, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler. He also worked as a set designer and has worked with such theater luminaries as Jerome Robbins, Peter Brook and Robert Wilson. Before he began to concentrate primarily on painting, Saito was also known for his own poetic theater pieces which incorporated wordless drama, costumes, light, music and dance. Saito has been exhibiting his paintings since 1976 in many group and solo shows. He was an artist-in-residence at Duke University in 1996 and a visiting professor at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan. He taught painting at the Art Students League starting in 2005. His work is held in numerous public collections including The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL among others.

Kikuo Saito: Works on Paper will be on view from November 1 – December 22, 2018. A reception will be held on Thursday, November 1st from 6:00-8:00pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. For additional information and/or visual materials, please contact the gallery at (212) 750-0949 or by email at info@booksteinprojects.com.

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[1] Wilkin, Karen. “Kikuo Saito: Works on Paper,” Kikuo Saito: Works on Paper, New York, Jill Newhouse Gallery, 2012. p. 8.

[2] ibid, p. 8.