2014 Japan Society Summer Artist Residency Program

Reviving the legacy of Japan Society Gallery's Artist Residency program of the 1950s and 1960s, which gave international opportunities to such visionary talents as Shikō Munakata and Yayoi Kusama, the Gallery continues to act as the major springboard for newly emerging talents from Japan.

For the 2014 residency program taking place during July, we have selected Cyoko Tamai (b. 1987, Kōchi Prefecture; lives and works in Tokyo), who brings out the expressive potentials of the medium of ink on paper painting. Tamai skillfully treads the space between the apparent fragility of paper and the core strength of its material nature, accentuated by the subtlety of ink.

Come by the Open Studio on Saturday, July 19th to meet the artist and view some of her works.

About Cyoko Tamai

Cyoko Tamai (b. 1987), Work in progress (detail), 2014. Ink on Japanese paper; diameter 7 7/8 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Born in 1987 in Kōchi Prefecture, Japan, Cyoko Tamai received BFA in Music (2011) and MFA in Japanese Painting (2014) from Tokyo University of the Arts. In her work, she pursues “the finest lines that are the smallest unit of painting,” using a steel dip pen rather than a paintbrush or ink brush conventionally used in Japanese painting. She considers her painting process “staining” of the thin fibers that comprise a sheet of paper. With the thin nib of her pen, Tamai pulls out fibers after fibers from the sheet of paper, literally deconstructing the painting surface to create an approximately two-inch-high, fuzzed relief that appears to defy gravity.

Tamai’s work has been included in the 2009 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Niigata Prefecture even before she received BFA. Since then her work has been presented in various solo and group exhibitions in Japan, including: “Cyoko TAMAI Exhibition,” Ginza Surugadai Gallery, Tokyo (2014); “What is Drawing–a show of competition winners,” Galerie Simon, Tokyo (2012); “Young Artists,” Daimaru Kochi, Tokyo (2013); “Next Art,” Matsuya Ginza, Tokyo (2013); “ShinPA!!!!!!!,” Obuse Museum of Art, Nagano Prefecture and Sato Museum of Art, Tokyo (2013). Tamai is a recipient of a grant from the Sato International Cultural Foundation in Tokyo (2013) and the Ataka Awards from Tokyo University of the Arts (2013).

Open Studio



About the Summer Artist Residency Program

Japan Society’s Summer Artist Residency Program is an annual series inviting emerging artists from Japan.

In 2013 a Fukushima-based artist collective three was invited and the program marked the first time in decades that Japan Society Gallery has officially supported Japan-based artists in long-term projects.

During the 1950s to the 1960s, many Japanese artists came to the Society as “fellow artists” and spent extremely fertile period in New York that significantly influenced their career development. Renowned printmaker Munakata Shikō (1903–1975) was one of the first residence artists in 1959, during which he completed an amazing body of works that represent the essence of his expressionistic woodblock prints. In the 1960s, celebrated artist Kusama Yayoi (b. 1929) was a fellow artist, creating her famous infinity-net paintings characteristic of that period in her career.

Japan Society Gallery continues to build upon this legacy and supports contemporary Japanese artists through the Summer Artist Residency Program. Since its exposure to the New York art scene, the 2013 Resident Artist group three has already accomplished two solo gallery exhibitions of their works in Miami in 2013 and 2014.
The Summer Artist Residency Program is generously supported by Mitchell and Joleen Julis, and Margot Paul Ernst.

Cyoko Tamai’s stay in New York City is made possible by The Globus Family.

Transportation is generously provided by United Airlines.

Top image: Cyoko Tamai (b. 1987), aqueous (detail), 2014. Ink on Japanese paper; 7 3/4 x 7 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist.

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