“Katsutoshi Yuasa: The World is Overflowing with Light”

by C.B. Liddell

Cibone Gallery
Closes in 55 days

A main appeal of art has always been its proximity to genius: showing us daring images, new forms, and astounding techniques that more mundane minds could never aspire to. But alongside this, there has also always been art seeking instead to present us with purity, humility and simplicity.

The work of London-based woodblock artist Katsutoshi Yuasa fits into this latter category. Yuasa makes low-key prints that have a delicate, effervescent beauty. Using digital photos from his everyday life, he changes them to monochrome and slowly incises them on a wood board, either preserving the realism of the photo or creating a stylized patchwork that pixelates the original image.

One of his sculptural works — a collection of fine wood shavings called “Mountain of Killed Time” — ironically referred to the stoical process involved in carving the boards. “Cutting is purifying, but simultaneously it is containing impurities,” Yuasa says on his Web site, emphasizing one of his key concepts — art as a purification of reality. For printing, he uses the baren, the traditional tool of the ukiyo-e printers to burnish the paper and help it absorb ink. Yuasa’s current exhibition at the Cibone Gallery in Kita Aoyama presents 11 prints and two carved works that make you feel a sense of nostalgia for scenes and places you have never visited.