Yoshio Sekine (1922-1989)
Sekine Yoshio (関根美夫) was born in Wakayama Prefecture and studied with the painter Yoshihara Jirô (1905-72) who founded the Gutai group of avant-garde artists in 1954. Sekine began painting the abacus in 1963, a single-minded subject that he also explored in many prints.
The ancient abacus, an arithmetic calculator, is raised to the level of symbol, its repeated, mantra-like representations spanning more than a quarter century in Sekine’s oeuvre. The variations on this singular theme gain their effect through a regular, metrical quality that is soothing and contemplative. Perhaps his teacher Yoshihara had some influence in this regard, as he, too, explored the repetition of forms—particularly in his later years when he painted black backgrounds, leaving unpainted areas to form circles.
Examples of Sekine’s works are in many private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Modern Art Museum, Munich; the Cincinnati Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Nagoya; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.