Born in Vancouver in 1926 to Japanese parents, during the Second World War Kazuo Nakamura was interned with his family in a camp in British Columbia. He moved to Ontario in 1945, where he studied commercial art in Hamilton and later in Toronto. He was a co-founder, in 1953, of the group Painters Eleven. Denise Leclerc writes in her foreword to Iris Nowell’s Painters Eleven, “This gathering of artists was crucial to the development of the Toronto artistic scene and eventually to all of Canadian art.”
The works in Nakamura’s String Paintings series of 1957 are considered by many to be his most distinguished. As Art Gallery of Ontario curator Dennis Reid writes in his Concise History of Canadian Painting, “the most beautifully profound are his string paintings. Among the most radically simple works produced in Canada at the time, all—like Waves of 1957 are expansive, infinitely subtle pictures. They are without scale, and are equally without limit to their meaning.”
Untitled is an unorthodox work, as strings were removed from the work. Without a doubt, however, the feel, spirit, and subtlety have been fully retained, as the grid made of the grooves left behind supports the structure typical of these works. Moreover, Untitled (Strings Removed) features the putty-coloured surfaces typical of this series. The artist achieved these surfaces by mixing turpentine, linseed oil, and brown pigments, washing the resulting medium over the wet gesso, and then removing the excess as a printmaker would do when inking a copper plate.
A truly unique outstanding work from Nakamura’s String Paintings series, Untitled (Strings Removed) presents a great opportunity for the real collector.