James Suzuki

James Suzuki
Japanese-Amiercan, b. 1933
Strange Horizon, 1962
Oil on canvas
26 x 22 in.

Artist Description

James Hiroshi Suzuki follows in the footsteps of such giants of Color Field painting as Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman. Suzuki first studied in Japan with Yoshio Markino, moving to the United States at the age of 19 to study art. Once he arrived, he studied at the Portland School of Fine Arts in Maine and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. During his education, he exhibited in various New York galleries, including Graham Gallery. He taught at University of California, Berkeley in 1962, California College of Arts and Crafts from 1964-1965, University of California Davis from 1967-1965, and accepted a position at the California State University in Sacramento where he lectured from 1972-1999.

During Suzuki’s first decade in America, his work revolved around the impressionist and abstract styles, working with the colors of the earth and sky.  The serene compositions adapt characteristics from many traditional Japanese and Korean painters – especially the blues of the sky and the browns of the earth that mimic sprawling farmland. Suzuki was once quoted on Japanese-born artists, saying that “…most of our abstraction is a nature abstraction.”

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