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Kenjiro Nomura (1896-1956), Street

Kenjiro Nomura (1896-1956), Street (c. 1929), oil on canvas [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Oct 22-Feb 19] Collection of the Seattle Art Museum/photo: Paul Macapia

Painting Seattle:
Kamekichi Tokita & Kenjiro Nomura

Seattle Asian Art Museum
Seattle WA – Oct 22-Feb 19, 2012

Kamekichi Tokita (1896-1948), Alley

Kamekichi Tokita (1896-1948), Alley (c.1932), oil on canvas [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Oct 22-Feb 19] Collection of the Seattle Art Museum/photo: Paul Macapia

Kamekichi Tokita (1896-1948), Bridge

Kamekichi Tokita (1896-1948), Bridge (1931, oil on canvas [Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA, Oct 22-Feb 19] Collection of the Seattle Art Museum/photo: Paul Macapia

During the 1930s, Japanese Americans Kamekichi Tokita and Kenjiro Nomura were part of a small number of progressive artists in Seattle that included Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Mark Tobey. During World War II, they were interned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho.

The 20 works gathered for this intimate show, mostly pre-WWII paintings, include eight pieces from SAM’s permanent collection. Familiar street scenes of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest reflect the urban landscape of the 1930s in a style closely related to American realist painting. Tokita and Nomura were both distinguished by their contribution to a unique first-generation Japanese-American perspective to American art.

The exhibit includes one entirely abstract work by Nomura, who was influenced by the aesthetics of Mark Tobey. A prolific artist, Nomura continued to work during internment and produced many images of landscape and daily life using any government-issued materials he was able to obtain. SAM mounted a solo show of Nomura’s work in their new museum in 1933, and after his death, a memorial exhibit in 1960.

Kamekichi Tokita was also a prominent artist who exhibited at SAM in the mid-1930s. Beginning on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, the artist kept a diary highlighting in detail his personal accounts and experiences during the war. Tokita died in 1948 and his rare, insightful diary serves as a basis for the publication that accompanies this exhibit.

www.seattleartmuseum.org

Allyn Cantor


 Wed, Nov 2, 2011