Rakuko Naito | Rhythms of White

1 Apr - 8 May 2022

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING - TAYLOE PIGGOTT GALLERY is pleased to present Rhythms of White an exhibition of work by artist Rakuko Naito on view from April 1st through May 8th, 2022. Naito’s work, repetitive folds of rice paper encased in wooden boxes designed to hang on the wall, reside somewhere between our notion of “drawing” and “sculpture.” This exhibition presents a large selection of work from the artist’s oeuvre which has never been shown together. An artist reception will be held at the gallery on April 1st from 5-7pm. All are welcome to attend.


Each work investigates the properties of different kinds of Japanese rice paper, with different shapes and forms repeated in different sized squares. The effect, both in each singular work and the exhibition altogether, is mesmerizing. In one work, thousands of tiny folds create a circular “gig-zag” checkerboard pattern, in another, a sea of perfectly formed fans creates a veritable ocean of white. Overall, rhythms form in the folds and undulations of rice paper. Without making a sound, the monochromatic assemblages of white, cream, and taupe draw the viewer’s eye in and out in a harmonic, meditative symphony.  


Naito’s career has spanned many methods and materials, all with the same evident dedication to organization and inventiveness. Beginning as an optical art painter in the early 60s after moving to New York from Tokyo, she created works that emphasized flatness and downplayed the artist’s hand. With close friend Sam Francis, she explored acrylics, spray paint, and masking tape, eventually focusing her style on the delicate, monochromatic paper assemblages that she works in today. With a natural affinity for order and structure, Naito joins a circle of artists such as Mel Bochner, Eve Hesse, and Sol LeWitt. Naito’s repetition of actions, decisions, and manipulated forms combined with her avoidance of narrative is the basis for her investigations of rice paper. Naito has said, “I feel natural forms and textures have a reality that cannot be completed by trying to paint or drawn by hand. I try to experiment and manipulate materials to create my own world.” 


Naito’s first solo exhibition was at the World House Gallery, New York, in 1965. Since then, she has exhibited all over the world, including many group exhibitions, such as the Mies-Van-der-Rohe Haus, “White Box,” Berlin, Germany, 2019; Monocromos: de Malevich al presente, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2004; the International Women Artists' Biennale, Incheon, Korea 2009; Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio 2007; Optical Edge, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York , 2007; A Moment Becomes Eternity, Bergen Museum, New Jersey,1993; Tokyo International Biennale (1974); Black & White, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (1966); and Motion and Movement, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (1964).


Born in Tokyo, Japan, Naito studied at the Tokyo National University of Art. After her graduation, in 1958, she moved to New York with artist and husband, Tadaaki Kuwayama, where she has lived and worked ever since. Featured throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, Naito’s work is represented in numerous galleries and public collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), the Voorlinden Museum (Wassenaar, the Netherlands), the Kemper Art Collection (Chicago), Miami-Dade Community College (Miami), The Larry Aldrich Museum (Ridgefield, CT), the Roland Gibson Art Foundation (SUNY Potsdam) and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an artist in residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in 2003. Naito held a solo exhibition at the Karuizawa New Art Museum (Karuizawa, Japan) in 2016 and was included in a group exhibition at Blum & Poe (Tokyo) in 2017.