Chiyu Uemae

Born: Naka-gun, Kyoto, 1920. Died: 2018
Period of Membership in GUTAI: 1954-1972

After a period of self-studying Chinese Nanga painting, Uemae later shifted his focus to Western painting. Exhibiting at the first Niki-Kai Exhibition in 1947 served as the catalyst for an apprenticeship under Western-style artist Jutaro Kuroda, but he soon began to experiment with abstract paintings. In 1952, he was deeply impressed by Jiro Yoshihara’s work, which was being exhibited at the Kobe Mitsukoshi department store. The following year, he visited Yoshihara’s house to ask for guidance.

He was a member of the Gutai Art Association from its formation in 1954 until its disbanding. While working hard to create art, he also worked as a crane operator at a foundry. The smelting furnace which he gazed at on a daily basis from the crane was sublimated into paintings composed of countless fine dots (pointillism). He later created works with an emphasis on materiality, mixing paint caps,  sawdust, match sticks, and the like into his paintings. Following the disbanding of the Gutai Art Association in 1975, he applied himself to a new technique of finely sewing threads onto cloth.