In the noutsider the outsider art field, art field, often often the modesty the modesty of an of artist’s an materials artist’s or art-making materials ormethods art-making belies methods the depth belies or the breadthdepth of hisororbreadth her oeuvre’s of his grandest, or her oeuvre’s most serious grandest, most themes. serious (Think themes. of Adolf (Think Wölfli’s of Adolf creation Wölfli’s of the creation universe of rendered the universe with coloured renderedpencils, with coloured or Jimmy pencils, Lee Sudduth’s or Jimmy finger paintings Lee Sudduth’s madefinger with mud, paintings found made pigments with mud, or found house paint pigments on wood or house scraps.) paintSometimes, on wood scraps). too, an artist Sometimes, might set outtoo, to address an artistamight big, weighty set out subject, to address only a big, to weighty do so with subject, what appear only to to dobesothe with most what humble appearstylistic to be the or technical most humble means. stylistic The inherent or technical incongruence means. The or inherent tension inincongruence this relationship or tension between in self-taught this relationship artists’ between aesthetic self-taught or intellectual artists’ objectives aesthetic and ortheir intellectual available or objectives chosen means and istheir oneavailable of outsider or chosen art’s common means is one of outsider characteristics. art’s common characteristics. In Japan, the 67-year-old, self-taught artist Hiroyuki Doi, a former master chef who worked in some of Tokyo’s top restaurants, has been making abstract drawings in ink on paper for several decades. Since his art first emerged on the international scene in a solo exhibition at the now-defunct Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York in 2002, Doi’s compositions, which are made up of little more than dense groupings of tiny black circles, have become increasingly complex Soul III 2006 ink on washi paper 38.25 x 37 ins., 97.2 x 94 cm image courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY
Untitled 2010 ink on washi paper 39.9 x 26.5 ins., 101.3 x 67.3 cm courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY
in form and ever more expansive in the themes they have addressed. Doi described the evolution of his art during an interview at his home and studio earlier this year. His small, plant-filled workspace is located in the Asakusa district of northeastern Tokyo. Doi observed that, for him, “using circles to produce images has provided soothing relief from the sadness and grief ” he has felt since the death, many years ago, of his youngest brother from a brain tumour. Since then, Doi has created works that have alluded, as he puts it, to such themes as “the transmigration of the soul, the cosmos, the coexistence of living creatures, human cells, human dialogue and peace”. He feels strongly about art that reveals the touch of its maker’s hand; that is to say, he believes that the most soulful, expressive artworks do let viewers know that they were made by fellow humans, not by machines. Doi’s creations are the opposite of those contemporary art products whose designer-marketers strive to eliminate any evidence of the touch of the human hand in their finished offerings, which they do not hand-craft themselves, but instead send out to fabricators to RAW VISION 79
International journal of outsider art, folk art, visionary art and Art Brut.