Seascapes by Hiroshi Sugimoto

“Seascapes” by Hiroshi Sugimoto may look at first like monochromatic paint on canvas, but they are in fact a photographic series by the famed Japanese artist. The photographs are on gelatin silver prints. They hark back to the similarly singular painting of Mark Rothko, and in fact they are being presented in an exhibition in London that features works of both artists. Pace London will have acrylic paintings by Rothko and the gelatin silver prints of Sugimoto.

“These artworks reveal two different artistic approaches that arrive at similar conclusions. Rothko’s use of medium as pure abstraction communes with the work of Hiroshi Sugimoto who, decades later, used the medium itself to reconsider photography’s relationship to his viewers’ perception of the world. In addition to exploring the visual dialogue between Rothko’s dark paintings and Sugimoto’s photographs—both characterized by a binary format of black and grey rectangular elements—the pairings mine the philosophical affinities between the two artists, each offering a meditation on universal and cosmological concerns.”

“Sugimoto’s Seascapes (begun in 1980) depict bodies of water from the English Channel to the Bay of Sagami, each photographed in the same stark composition of a horizon line dividing the sky and sea. Divided into two rectangles—one dark, one light—the relationship between sea and sky takes on an almost abstract geometry that carries from image to image and ocean to ocean around the world. Like Rothko, Sugimoto conveys a startling range of emotions within a limited vocabulary of black and white tones and a fixed format. Focusing on water and air—the substances that gave rise to life—the works evoke primordial seas and the origins of human consciousness.” – Pace London.