Cross-Pollination: east meets west


From 1945 through 1975, many artists from the U.S., through random exchanges, shared ideas and artistic styles with a group of Asian-American artists from Japan, China and Korea. While some of these artists were born in America and others emigrated, their influence and inspiration was seen and felt by many. Today, many of them remain in relative obscurity. Visually, their work contained calligraphic gestures learned from families and friends. Other work was reductive, incorporating large flat fields of color, sometimes featuring geometric shapes, repetition of lines and dots, suggesting nature in abstraction. Their work was connected to the philosophies of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism – calling upon the self to be removed from focus, held at a distance. Cross-pollination occurred between the Asian artists and their non-Asian counterparts, from west to east coast and academia to exhibition.

Hans Hofmann, deeply influenced by the work of these Asian artists said, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” The aesthetic of quiet elegance is powerful and remains influential and inspirational by many to this day. The following images include some favorite Asian and non-Asian artists as well as a few contemporary artists, myself included.

Hans Hofmann, Astral Nebula,

Wang Ming, Untitled,

Tracey Adams, Imago 83,

Mark Tobey, Night Celebration II,

Seong Moy, Untitled,

Whanki Kim, Where, in What Form, Shall We Meet Again?, Courtesy of Gallery Hyandia

Jan Mueller, Seated Figures, Courtesy of Lori Bookstein Fine Art

Tracey Adams, Lumenis 9,

Yutaka Ohashi, Stone Garden,

Hans Hofmann, The Golden Wall,

Tremain Smith, Opening,

Masatoya Kishi, Opus No 64 C-11,

Howard Hersh, Skin Deep 7,

Minoru Kawabata, Pink One,

George Abend, Green,